Northeast Tarrant

Lady Mustangs, Panthers meet in non-district rivalry game

As soon as she took the Grapevine girls basketball job, Lindy Lombard probably zeroed in on Dec. 2. That’s when Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage met.

Tuesday’s game at Grapevine marked the first time Lombard and her mentor, Colleyville Heritage coach Dianna Sager, faced each other. Lombard was an assistant at Colleyville Heritage for six seasons before spending the last two years at Saginaw Chisholm Trail.

Lombard returned to the GCISD in July and has directed a 6-1 start. The good news is that the game didn’t have anything at stake except bragging rights. Colleyville Heritage is in Class 6A and Grapevine is in 5A.

“The rivalry is not the same because we’re not in the same (athletic) district,” Lombard said. “But the rivalry is more meaningful for the girls because it is their sister school. And sure, this is a special game because Dianna and I have never faced each other.”

The interesting part was how well those two coaches know each other and what they were going to do to counter any strategic moves during the game. Although it is in the lower classification, Grapevine is the more experienced team with eight seniors.

And although this team carries a nice record into the first week in December, Lombard knows this squad is not playing at a high level yet. Keep in mind, this team converted from playing an open floor game to more of a half court game.

“I’m still waiting for that complete effort,” Lombard said. “But what’s nice is that we can rely on multiple people. I think about five of them are averaging anywhere between six and nine points. When you’re as even as that, then you’re in a good position.”

Senior four-year varsity player Mandi Routon has been pretty efficient running the offense as she is averaging about 5.5 assists per game. Lombard wants Routon to be a scorer. But there are nights when other parts will serve this team well. In the 39-37 overtime win over Keller Fossil Ridge on Nov. 20, Routon struggled to score and had only six points. However, she had nine assists.

“She works her tail off and leads by example,” Lombard said. “She does the little things that don’t show up in games that will help you win. That’s what you have to have.”

Senior forward Reem Bayaa has been a pretty impressive presence in the block. Although she stands just 5-9, she finds a way to stay active around the glass. Against Fossil Ridge, Bayaa had 16 rebounds.

The schedule has been set up for the Lady Mustangs to pick up a lot of wins. But that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed either. However, Lombard is taking advantage of this schedule to help her team adapt to the new system.

“It’s December so we’re working to get there,” Lombard said. “We won some close games and have picked up some confidence.”

Following the Colleyville Heritage meeting, Grapevine plays in the Burleson tournament Thursday-Saturday and opens against Midland.

Colleyville Heritage update

The Lady Panthers figured to have their ups and downs during the non-district season. That’s what has happened. They were 3-4 following losses to Crowley (52-41) and Mansfield Summit (51-29). Colleyville Heritage has struggled to find a second scorer to freshman 5-10 guard Bryn Gerlich. She scored 29 against Crowley and 16 against Summit.

The Lady Panthers played Grapevine on Tuesday and then traveled to the Nike Classic Thursday-Saturday in Katy. Senior post Charlotte Collyer was expected to return to the program this week after missing at least the first seven games due to undisclosed reasons.