Lady Panthers get ready for postseason

02/03/2014 3:08 PM

02/03/2014 3:09 PM

Grapevine’s quest to return to the postseason officially ended on last Friday when Euless Trinity defeated Irving Nimitz, while their rivals at Colleyville Heritage soldier on.

However, Steve Ganninger’s Lady Mustangs still put together a solid week with wins over Irving and Carrollton R.L. Turner. Grapevine (14-12, 6-7 in District 6-5A) had a chance to end the season on a high note and to get to .500 had it won the finale Tuesday at Trinity.

Regardless of the outcome, the Lady Mustangs still came away with a winning season.

“After that Tuesday when our playoff fate was decided, there was nothing we could do,” Ganninger said. “But we talked about finishing the season the right way and just playing better. With playoffs no longer a tangible goal, we still had a lot of motivation. That’s what I was looking for.”

In reviewing the season, Ganninger said he believed the uptempo offensive style that he converted to played to his player’s strength. There was balanced scoring between Michelle Kotlik, Mandi Routon, Abby Ingram and Nicole Taake. They averaged between eight and 11 points per game. Abby Sandy would also add in her occasional 8-10 point effort.

Averaging 57 points per game, Ganninger said that’s the highest single-season scoring average by any Grapevine team.

Defensively, the Lady Mustangs were up and down. Ganninger said the half-court alignment started slowly but picked up toward the end of the season. Grapevine’s problem was that it could not solve the district’s four playoff teams. It went 0-7 against Hurst L.D. Bell, Colleyville Heritage, Irving MacArthur and Trinity before Tuesday. In those seven games, Grapevine’s defense surrendered an average of 62.6 points.

“We were in a tough district this year if you look at the upper part,” Ganninger said. “We didn’t have any slouches.”

But the core in Taake, Kotlik, Sandy and Routon will be among the nine returning for 2014-2015. This team loses only three seniors, including Abby Ingram.

“It really should be an exciting year for us,” Ganninger said. “Whenever I’ve had teams with a good core of players, they’ve seemed to fare really well.”

Colleyville Heritage update

In the unlikely event that the Lady Panthers (20-12, 9-4 in 6-5A) dropped their Tuesday finale to Irving Nimitz and Euless Trinity beat Grapevine, the teams would flip for third place, coach Dianna Sager said. Colleyville Heritage split last week by losing to Irving MacArthur and beating Irving on senior night last Friday.

Had Colleyville Heritage won, the Lady Panthers would meet Flower Mound in the bi-district playoffs next week. Sager said coaches from Districts 5-5A and 6-5A are scheduled to meet Wednesday to set the matchups.

For the duration of this week, Sager said she wants her team to hone in on ball security and have her guards Salina Apodaca and Victoria Bratcher play with great focus. That’s what this team is going to need if it’s going to move beyond the first round for the first time in three years.

“If we take care of the ball, we can do some things,” Sager said. “We need Salina to shoot the ball well and Victoria attacking the basket.”

Realignment

With Monday’s realignment, Grapevine will drop in the new Class 5A (formerly 4A) and will not be playing Colleyvillle Heritage unless there is a non-district game.

“The caliber of player is still tough at the 5A level,” Ganninger said. “Maybe the consistency isn’t the same, but I still think this will be a good move because it’ll be suited to the size of the school.”

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