Usually, Colleyville Heritage girls basketball coach Dianna Sager doesn’t shy away from telling anyone what she thinks of her team.
Sager really likes this 2016-2017 version. Through a defining week when the Lady Panthers (10-4) easily handled Southlake Carroll (53-44) and scored in the final seconds to knock off Keller (48-46), Colleyville Heritage entered District 8-5A carrying a lot of momentum.
This team will be the heavy favorite as it opened district play Tuesday against Fort Worth Carter-Riverside before playing host to Richland Friday.
“It’s pretty much a situation that I’ve seen this from the first game to where we are now,” Sager said. “I’m very impressed with the maturity of this team. We’ve done some incredible things.”
Look no further than the game-winning sequence against Keller. Colleyville Heritage led almost the entire way until the Lady Indians came back to take a 46-45 lead inside the final two minutes. With less than 30 seconds to play, this team’s best defender, senior guard Caitlyn Foster, stole the inbounds pass and found junior wing Bryn Gerlich. Rather than drive to the basket and look for the game-winning basket or draw a foul to set up for free throws, Gerlich drew the defense and made the extra pass to Emily Lewis, who knocked down the game-winning three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining.
Colleyville Heritage needed every one of its nine made three-pointers because it was outscored at the free-throw line, 20-10. Sager said the shooting funk her team was in prior to playing in the Katy tournament is over.
“We just trust each other more, and that play Bryn made was something that makes a coach really happy,” she said. “I’ve said that I always want a tough non-district schedule that will make us play at a high level. Usually, I expect to be about .500 with that. But what we’ve done so far has been very good to see.”
However, Colleyville Heritage may not be as deep for the week. Senior forward Alyssia Harris is dealing with a high ankle sprain and may not be available until the Duncanville tournament between Christmas and New Year’s. Junior guard Renata Palomo is also suffering from a sprained ankle. She was not expected to play against Carter-Riverside but could be available for Richland depending on how well she responded to treatment.
Grapevine (4-6): Lindy Slagle’s team is coming off an impressive 44-30 victory over Coppell and began District 8-5A play against Fort Worth Eastern Hills on Tuesday before traveling to Birdville on Friday.
While Grapevine was heavily favored on Tuesday, Birdville is the challenge. The Lady Hawks return four starters.
Should this team collect performances like what it received from Tatum Tellin against Coppell (12 points, 12 rebounds), then it will have a chance.
“We’re going to have to play really clean against Eastern Hills,” Slagle said. “What’s going to be important is that we play very consistently throughout against Birdville. They’re going to take advantage of our mistakes.”
Carroll (6-7, 0-1 District 5-6A): The Lady Dragons went through a tough week last week with losses to Colleyville Heritage and the district opener against Euless Trinity (53-21). Carroll continued the week with home games against Flower Mound Marcus on Tuesday and Lewisville on Friday. Carroll needs to at least split these two to feel good about itself when district play resumes in January.
More sports coverage this week at southlakejournal.com.