Northeast Tarrant

Lady Panthers, Mustangs in first rivalry clash Friday

Bryn Gerlich (right) should be a key player in Friday night’s clash between her Lady Panthers and Grapevine.
Bryn Gerlich (right) should be a key player in Friday night’s clash between her Lady Panthers and Grapevine.

There will be several compelling things to watch when the Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine girls basketball teams meet Friday.

Although the two likely will be tied for first place in District 8-5A, one thing to watch is whether the Lady Mustangs can knock the Lady Panthers off their game. Another is if Grapevine head coach Lindy Slagle will even be on the bench.

Both teams had very winnable games on Tuesday. Grapevine (11-0, 5-0) played at Richland. Colleyville Heritage (17-6, 5-0) played host to Fort Worth Polytechnic. Friday’s meeting closes the first half of the district season.

This game also has more meaning than in previous seasons because there is more than Grapevine-Colleyville school district pride involved. The winner has sole possession of first place. Then there is the deep connection between Colleyville Heritage head coach Dianna Sager and Slagle. Slagle served as a CHHS assistant for six seasons.

Slagle, who is on maternity leave, visits with her doctor to receive clearance to return to her job part-time. If she gets it by Friday, she will be on the bench. However, varsity assistant Collin McKinney is still expected to run the game.

“I have the utmost respect for Lindy and her program,” Sager said. “She does a great job with her players, so I know they will be ready when we go there.”

Grapevine knows its needs to be. Colleyville Heritage presents a flurry of matchup concerns. There’s junior wing Bryn Gerlich, who is averaging 19.8 points. Then, senior guard McKinley Charles is at 8.9 points per game and averaging better than two 3-point makes per game. Seniors Emily Lewis and Caitlyn Foster are combining to average nearly 12 points.

It had been Slagle’s practice to put senior wing Tatum Tellin on the opposing team’s best offensive player. Slagle went away from that in early December because she needed more offense from Tellin.

With Gerlich’s versatile offensive game, Tellin will draw the assignment. But she will also receive some help.

“[Gerlich] is going to be our biggest defensive challenge of the year,” Slagle said. “The importance of the game is part of it. Tatum is going to be guarding. But she isn’t the only one. We’re going to have to look at a few things.”

Grapevine’s chances of pulling off the win are tied to keeping this in the 40s. That also means reducing the number of possessions. A high possession game favors the Lady Panthers. The Lady Mustangs are going to need to big offensive performances from Tellin and senior guard Jessi Prater.

“If you’re going to get good shots, you better take them,” Slagle said. “In some games, those are easier to come by. But we’ve been doing a better job of making the extra pass. Jessi has found some good things. Tatum is comfortable with her mid-range jumper.”

The return game is Feb. 7 at Colleyville.

Carroll update

The difficult season for the Lady Dragons (7-14, 0-5 District 5-6A) continued last week when the district season resumed. Carroll dropped a pair of games to Northwest Byron Nelson (49-41) and Hurst L.D. Bell (64-43). The first half of the district season concluded with traveling to Lewisville Hebron on Tuesday and playing host to Flower Mound on Friday.