Northeast Tarrant

Lady Panthers featuring different offensive scheme

Usually, you can count on the Colleyville Heritage girls basketball team to have one major low post presence in its offense scoring on high percentage looks, collecting rebounds and being a defensive presence.

Not this year.

Coach Dianna Sager’s team features a far different look. Instead of being a little more of the half-court presentation, the Lady Panthers are playing 2014-2015 at a much quicker pace with players encouraged to take as many three-pointers as possible.

Colleyville Heritage is two weeks into the season and was 3-2 before it played Crowley on Nov. 21. The Lady Panthers are expected to be a playoff contender in District 7-6A along with Carroll, Euless Trinity and Coppell.

“I’m getting used to the pace, and they’re getting used to the pace,” Sager said. “I like the coachability and the chemistry with this group. These kids know more about defense and offense and work ethic. So that makes it easier.”

There will be rough patches. For instances, Sager wants to keep her team to committing only 15 turnovers. In the 55-47 victory at Denton Ryan on Nov. 18, the Lady Panthers committed 20. It’s never going to be perfect, but that’s what goals are for.

Sophomore McKinley Charles has jumped out to a quick start, scoring well into double figures in her first five games. But there’s also the added luxury of freshman 5-10 guard Bryn Gerlich, daughter of UT-Arlington women’s basketball coach Krista Gerlich. Although she is listed as guard, Sager said Gerlich can play any position on the floor.

Gerlich’s size will help junior forward Seairra Ford, who will use her quickness in the low post. However, she’s considered to be Colleyville Heritage’s top defensive player. Sager believes she will collect solid contributions from senior 6-0 post Zhanae Whitney and 5-2 guard Charles. If those two are playing at a solid level, then the depth of this team will be solved.

Colleyville Heritage went 1-2 in its own tournament held Nov. 13-15. It also plays in Katy Tournament Dec. 4-6 and the Duncanville tournament over the Christmas break. Although they are in different classifications, Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine will still play each other. They meet on Dec. 2 at Grapevine.

Lombard now in charge at Grapevine

When Lindy Lombard took over Grapevine girls basketball program, she had a very experienced team ready to greet her. That’s putting it mildly, as the 2014-2015 roster features eight seniors.

The former Colleyville Heritage assistant earned some head coaching at experience at Saginaw Chisholm Trail before returning to the GCISD this summer when she was named head coach. She replaced Steve Ganninger.

“We were walking into a situation where there are a great group of shooters,” Lombard said. “But some of the bigger things we had to change was how we play defense.”

Once an open-floor team, the Lady Mustangs are returning to a half court man-to-man set. The players bought in, so that made Lombard’s job easier.

The Lady Mustangs were 5-1 before last Friday’s game against Keller Fossil Ridge. But they have played exactly how Lombard hoped.

Senior Mandi Routon is playing the point and doesn’t have to score as long as she’s moving the offense. Seniors Nicole Taake and Sydney Bowers are expected to have solid shooting seasons. Junior guard Abby Sandy remains one of the more prolific scorers on this team. What will help this team is what kind production it receives from senior 6-0 post Carli Dominguez. Dominguez had a reduced role last year.

“It’s new for Carli,” Lombard said. “We want her to be productive on the court. She’s worked to get there.”

Grapevine’s tournament schedule started Nov. 13-15 at Saginaw. It then moves on to Burleson Dec. 4-6 and the Saginaw Boswell tournament of the Christmas Holiday.