Northeast Tarrant

Heritage girls hoops bounces back after 2 straight losses

Colleyville Heritage’s girls basketball program experienced a first it didn’t want to experience recently. It lost consecutive games for the first time this season when it fell to Plano Prestonwood in the Duncanville Tournament and Euless Trinity on Jan. 2.

But it didn’t become a third consecutive loss. The Lady Panthers (17-7, 3-1 District 7-6A) responded this past Friday the way head coach Dianna Sager hoped they would when they defeated Haltom, 60-34. Defensively, they held Haltom to only 14 points in the second half.

Colleyville Heritage needed to get a little energy back as it went into a daunting week. It played host to fourth-place Hurst L.D. Bell (14-8, 2-2) on Tuesday and plays at co-district leader Carroll (14-9, 4-0) on Friday.

“We needed to get our heads back up and get some confidence,” Sager said. “We handled some things really well. And we used Tuesday [Colleyville Heritage’s scheduled bye] to just keep working on us. I was very happy with the week of work we had.”

It’s definitely been a different season for the Lady Panthers, who finished 2014-2015 at 19-4. They are only two wins away from matching that total. Sager’s program has been through big weeks in the past. The approach doesn’t change.

When the Lady Panthers were in the gym at last Saturday’s practice, they were preparing on how to attack Bell’s talented junior forward Lexi Gordon.

“I’ve always been about the next game, and that’s what we were doing,” Sager said. “You finish one and then you get going on the next one immediately. Once we’re finished with Bell, then we’ll start thinking about Southlake.”

Notable

Junior guard Hannah Verdi (torn ACL) was expected to see doctors early this week to determine how close she is to joining her teammates. If all goes well, Verdi could return to the court as early as next week when Colleyville Heritage begins the second half of 7-6A play against Coppell and Richland. Verdi has been going through non-contact drills in practice for about the last month.

Grapevine update

The Lady Mustangs (8-11, 4-0 in District 6-5A) experienced an oddly successful week. Despite a 73-11 victory over Fort Worth Carter-Riverside, Grapevine played without forward Tatum Tellin and guard Abby Sandy.

Sandy was actually cleared to return from her concussion, but head coach Lindy Lombard opted not to play her. Tellin was running a fever.

But everyone was back for this past Friday’s 53-39 victory over Birdville. Sandy had a season-high 18 points. Everybody needed to be available for Tuesday’s game at district favorite Lake Dallas (15-5, 4-0). The Lady Falcons have the player of the year candidate in Ashley Hays who has been scoring in the 20-point range consistently.

When it comes to playing a team with a great player, an opposing coach has two choices. Lombard can either guard Hays heavily and force the rest of the lineup to beat her, or she can let Hays have her share and limit the other four.

Obviously, Lombard wouldn’t comment on game strategy. But either way, the game isn’t going to determine the rest of the season.

“There’s no shot Ashley can’t make,” Lombard said. “We just have to make sure that we do a good job to keep playing hard. You can’t eliminate a player like her.”

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