Northeast Tarrant

Carroll, GCISD girls teams learn in holiday tournaments

Hannah Verdi is an important component of the Colleyville Heritage offense, says head coach Dianna Sager.
Hannah Verdi is an important component of the Colleyville Heritage offense, says head coach Dianna Sager.

The Southlake Carroll, Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine girls basketball programs return to district competition this week after some revealing holiday tournament performances.

Colleyville Heritage: The Lady Panthers definitely took some hits at last week’s Duncanville tournament. But these games were probably the most competitive this program was going to see until the Class 5A playoffs.

Against Houston Westbury – a team that features three Division I prospects – in the opener, Colleyville Heritage trailed by 11 points with less than four minutes to play. But the Lady Panthers rallied and took a 58-56 lead in the closing seconds. However, Westbury hit a game-winning 3-pointer.

Maybe it was everything balancing out. Remember, Colleyville Heritage won games against Plano West and Keller with last-second 3-pointers.

“When I talked to the team and asked them if they got more out of this game or what we got from playing Richland, [Fort Worth] Poly and [Fort Worth] Dunbar [District 8-5A],” head coach Dianna Sager said, “they all said this game. I think they were excited to play in a game that could have gone either way.”

While junior wing Bryn Gerlich will be the go-to player with this offense, senior 3-point specialist McKinley Charles is dangerous when she gets hot. She and Gerlich had 47 points (22 and 25 respectively) in the loss to Westbury.

However, Sager needs a consistent third and complementary scorer to emerge. Senior wing Emily Lewis has had strings of games where she can contribute. Senior guards Caitlyn Foster and Hannah Verdi have to be part of the offensive plan.

“We just have to have them score,” Sager said. “Caitlyn and Hannah have to give us 6-8 points. Emily is capable. It’s going to be important for us to have that as we keep going through the season.”

Grapevine: Head coach Lindy Slagle took some time off for the birth of her son. The Lady Mustangs ran into some scoring problems in the Mansfield tournament.

That’s not a coincidence. That’s just been the story of the season when Grapevine has opposed tough competition. Facing Mansfield Summit and Amarillo Tascosa in the first two games of the tournament, the team only scored 30 and 31 points.

Part of the problem in those two games is that one player accounted for about half of the offense. Jessi Prater had 13 of the 30. Tatum Tellin had 16 of the 31.

But they flipped the script, scoring 50 and 51 points in wins over Mansfield Lake Ridge and Humble Atascocita.

Carroll: A 1-3 performance in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix two weeks ago gave head coach Teri Morrison some optimism.

“Our defense improved quite a bit,” Morrison said. “I also thought some of our individual performances were stronger. But we’re still struggling with what we’re trying to do offensively. We just can’t trade buckets because that’s going to make it hard on us.”

Morrison used last week’s practice time to create short-term goals, including finding ways to become successful against a pressure defense. She’s also trying to determine who can be the go-to scorer. That could be 6-1 sophomore post Gabby McBride. McBride is averaging 7.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

“We’ve got to get some post scoring with Gabby,” Morrison said. “She’s getting a couple of baskets early. But we need to get her into double figures, because she has a good feel for things there.”