It was one of those rare occasions where Grapevine learned about dealing with the uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what first-year head coach Lindy Lombard wanted.
Tied at 19 with Lake Dallas at the intermission, the Lady Mustangs turned up the defensive intensity to keep their perfect District 6-5A season going. They knocked off Lake Dallas, 43-31, and had very winnable games between Fort Worth Poly this past Friday, Fort Worth Eastern Hills on Tuesday and then Fort Worth Dunbar this coming Friday.
Should Grapevine (23-2, 5-0 5-6A) win these three contests it would more than likely clinch a playoff spot. Then the balance of the season would be used for winning the district championship while preparing for the playoffs.
“For our defense, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Lombard said. “I know our point totals look great. But if we’re going to hope for bigger and better things this coming season, then we have to be ready to play to the next level.”
Lombard and her staff used a recent practice to refine many of the basics to tighten the defensive approach. They went over footwork, spacing and hand placement. They also covered how to deal with people attacking the basket and closing out on shooters.
Obviously, the competition in a potential playoff run will be far greater than what Grapevine is currently facing. So it will go back to how well this team can minimize the damage.
“The thing that we want to impress upon them is that they should never be satisfied,” Lombard said. “We’ve done some really good things. But you don’t want to have complacency either. I think this team really understands that.”
The streak ends
Perfection can’t last forever. Grapevine junior guard Abby Sandy had one of those weeks to remember as she converted all 15 of her field goal attempts – 14 three-point attempts – against Fort Worth Carter-Riverside and Birdville.
But the streak ended on Jan. 13 in the victory over Lake Dallas. Sandy missed her first attempt of the game (well, the first two) and finished the game with nine points.
“Really, Abby was pretty cool about the whole thing and kept her head,” Lombard said. “It’s something she’s always going to remember.”
Colleyville Heritage update
The Lady Panthers (15-10, 4-1 in District 7-6A) walked into their Jan. 13 game at Hurst L.D. Bell with nine players on the roster who never saw a varsity minute in 2013-2014. They were missing three starters.
Consider that starting point guard Caitlyn Foster hasn’t played all season because of a torn ACL she suffered in June. And mix in that senior post Charlotte Collyer was down with a high ankle sprain and senior forward Seairra Ford is out for undisclosed reasons.
Then, they started the game trailing by 12 points early before rallying for 55-54 victory. That’s a signature win that kept Colleyville Heritage in a very good position for the postseason. The Lady Panthers wrapped up the first half of district play on Friday against Carroll and then played at Coppell on Tuesday and plays host to Richland this coming Friday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what this team did that night,” coach Dianna Sager said. “That’s a roster of mostly freshmen and sophomores out there. They could have easily been flustered and given up. But that’s a good team win.”
Obviously, it helps to have arguably the best player in the district in freshman Bryn Gerlich who finished with 29. But maybe the biggest basket of the night was when sophomore guard McKinley Charles drilled a 22-footer to give the Lady Panthers the lead for good in the closing minutes.
In a related matter, Foster was expected to start contact this week as she prepares for a February return.