Lady Panthers seniors give their all in bi-district loss

02/17/2014 3:50 PM

02/17/2014 3:51 PM

If Colleyville Heritage girls basketball coach Dianna Sager had an answer for a 6-4 sophomore post for 32 minutes, she could have maybe found a way to sneak out a win.

Colleyville Heritage played even with Flower Mound in the Class 5A Region I bi-district playoff round for first 29 minutes. But when senior post Artavia Ford fouled out with 2:37 to play in the game, that allowed Flower Mound’s Lauren Cox to take advantage. A then two-point lead became a nine-point win.

Cox finished with a game-high 30 points as the Lady Jaguars ended the Lady Panthers’ season 60-51. Cox went 9-9 on free throws and scored another 10 points on and-one opportunities.

Colleyville Heritage closed the season at 21-13. The bi-district frustration continues. Colleyville Heritage failed to advance past the first round for the third consecutive year.

“The frustration was this was a good matchup for us,” Sager said. “They didn’t press and didn’t hurt us with their athleticism. If it ended against Arlington Bowie or Duncanville with their athleticism, then I could live with it. But this was a game we could have won. It just didn’t work out for us.

“My seniors gave me everything. They followed the game-plan to the end. I was pleased with that. We just lost to an individual.”

Sager wasn’t just talking coach-speak. The game was tight. Colleyville Heritage led 26-23 at the half and trailed 42-41 going into the fourth quarter. Senior guards Salina Apodaca and Victoria Bratcher led the way with 13 and 10 points and provided the production Sager needed.

And even though senior post Artavia Ford finished with nine points, Sager called Ford’s effort against Cox exemplary.

“Tav played with so much heart,” Sager said. “She was truly devastated when we lost. I look at it as a mark of maturity. Sometimes with a kid who has a Division I future (Ford signed with UT-Arlington), there would a tendency to not really care and just get ready for college. That wasn’t the case with Tav.”

What’s coming back

The Lady Panthers will lose quite a bit from the guard position and the block between Apodaca, Bratcher and Ford.

That should concern some coaches. Sager, though, isn’t worried. She likes what she has coming up through the program. Of course, it will start with guard Caitlyn Foster, who will be a sophomore in 2014-2015. Foster had her strong moments and struggles but played well enough to stay on the varsity roster in 2013-2014.

Then there’s Ford’s younger sister Searria, who can play either a wing or a guard. Charlotte Collyer will also provide support in the post.

The junior varsity went undefeated in district play and features more post help in 6-0 Zhanae Whitney and 5-10 Brynn McGurlick. Whitney moved in from New York and will be a junior. McGurlick will be a sophomore.

“We going to be moving into a new and tougher district, but we’re ready to handle it,” Sager said. “I think we have some really good kids coming our way. They know the expectations of the program and what we’re trying to do. We’re looking forward to the offseason and developing a new team.”

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