Northeast Tarrant

Lady Panthers adjust to roster changes

Bryn Gerlich takes a shot against Haltom last Friday. Coach Dianna Sager said Gerlich is dealing well with some strategy adjustments prompted by unavailable players.
Bryn Gerlich takes a shot against Haltom last Friday. Coach Dianna Sager said Gerlich is dealing well with some strategy adjustments prompted by unavailable players. Star-Telegram

Colleyville Heritage girls basketball coach Dianna Sager has had to rearrange her lineup in light of two notable absences in the low block.

First, senior 6-0 post Charlotte Collyer is out with left high ankle sprain. Collyer was expected to miss this week’s games against Hurst L.D. Bell on Tuesday and Carroll on Friday. After that, it will be a game-by-game situation. Second, junior 5-10 forward Seairra Ford is unavailable until Jan. 30 for undisclosed reasons.

Losing Collyer’s rebounding and complementary scoring to Bryn Gerlich and Zhanae Whitney impacts the offense. There really is not a third scorer for this team. Ford’s athleticism is missed. But more importantly, Sager considers her one of her better defenders.

“We’ve gone from having four posts to two,” Sager said. “So what that does is make us turn it over a little more and make us play people that have to do more than what we’ve asked of them.”

In lieu of their absences, the guard play has shifted where the likes of junior Sally Delgado and sophomore McKinley Charles received more playing time and were asked to be more of a part of the offense. That kind of goes against the original intent of the season as the Lady Panthers (14-10, 3-1 in District 7-6A) were expected to be more post oriented.

The forced change has also meant that freshman Bryn Gerlich has had to return to the block. Obviously, Colleyville Heritage had some time to work with making these changes because the program drew the bye on Jan. 6.

The Lady Panthers face a very important week as they played at Hurst L.D. Bell Tuesday and play host to Carroll on Friday. A split puts them in pretty good position through the end of the first half of district play.

“Bryn is really an incredible post player,” Sager said. “She understands what she has to do there. But because we’ve had Charlotte and Seairra, we’ve been able to use her in different situations. She’s handled going back fine.”

Grapevine update

Junior point guard Abby Sandy was more than in the zone last week. She was perfect.

The junior guard had the perfect week – literally. Sandy was 15-of-15 from the field in Grapevine’s two wins against Fort Worth Carter-Riverside and Birdville. But what was even more impressive was that she was 14-of-14 from three-point range.

Obviously, it’s a run that will have its end. However, Sandy’s memorable week was a result of countless hours in the gym, countless shots at the net and resisting the urge to slack off when there were days she didn’t have the energy.

That meant a lot in 49-40 victory over Birdville this past Friday. Sandy scored a career-high 29 points as she was 10-of-10 from the field including converting all nine of her 3-point attempts. That was really important. Grapevine (22-2, 4-0 in District 6-5A) overcame an early 21-10 deficit.

“She just puts in the time,” Grapevine coach Lindy Lombard said. “When I first talked to Abby she told me she was just a shooter. But really, her game has grown. She can attack off the dribble and has emerged as a tremendous passer. She’s really turned her game around.”

Meanwhile, the 76-6 victory over Carter-Riverside on Jan. 6 is just one of those games that everyone has to endure. The game was pretty much decided in the opening minutes.

“We still have to keep our intensity up,” Lombard said. “We talked about playing perfect defense and to play with good habits. We have to keep building them. If we don’t, we could revert to (bad habits) in games where more is on the line.”

Grapevine played Lake Dallas on Tuesday and meets Fort Worth Polytechnic on Friday.