With this week’s showdown versus Euless Trinity looming — both a rivalry game and an important district affair — L.D. Bell took the court at the Mansfield Spring Creek Invitational girls basketball tournament with one goal in mind: prepare for the Lady Trojans.
“I told them I’m not concerned about this tournament,” Bell coach Brock Pembleton said. “That’s not my concern. My concern is Tuesday night at Trinity. So what we’re doing in the tournament is preparing ourselves to get ready for Tuesday night — win or lose. I’m going to play people where I need to play them in preparation for district play.”
You know what they say about best-laid plans.
In the opening-round game Wednesday against Allen, Pembleton was forced to use players longer than he preferred, but the Lady Lady Raiders ground out a 50-45 comeback win. Lexi Gordon led the team with 25 points while little sister Myra chipped in with 15.
Bell trailed the game by 10 points midway through the second quarter.
“I don’t want to drive all my players into the ground,” Pembleton said, but he didn’t want to pass on a possible victory, either.
“Winning helps momentum going into district play against good teams.”
That wasn’t so much the case in Bell’s second-round game. The Lady Raiders ran up against Cypress Ranch, the No. 9 team in 6A according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches rankings released prior to the holidays.
What was a fairly close game at halftime, with the Mustangs leading 25-19, slipped away quickly as Cy Ranch held Bell to just four points in the second half. The Mustangs ended up winning 54-23.
Bell rebounded on Thursday to down Austin Bowie 50-43, again led by the sibling duo of Lexi and Myra Gordon, who had 27 and 12 points, respectively.
The Lady Raiders closed out the tournament with a 57-54 overtime loss to Arlington Martin. Bell trailed by double-digits at halftime, but rallied to force the extra frame. Lexi Gordon’s three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
So Bell exited the tournament with a pair of wins and a pair of losses to bring its overall record to 12-8 on the season as it gets into the heart of district play.
“The holiday tournament for us has always been about getting the Christmas break out of our system and get back on the court and getting up and down,” Pendleton said.
The coach also noted he was able to get some valuable minutes to freshman Kyla Davis, who continues to develop her role on the team.
“I put her into situations that I need her to know what she needs to do in those situations,” Pembleton said.
Bell hosts Trinity (both are 3-0 in district play) Tuesday night with one team destined for its first loss in District 5-6A play.