Coach Dianna Sager is hoping that the District 7-6A schedule makers are doing her a favor. Her Lady Panthers are officially in the Class 6A Region I basketball playoffs as the third seed.
Colleyville Heritage (19-12, 8-3 in District 7-6A) wrapped up that spot with a 51-44 victory over Hurst L.D. Bell this past Friday. More importantly, the Lady Panthers avoided a bi-district matchup with powerhouse Duncanville.
But by Tuesday night, they still didn’t know who they were playing. Cedar Hill and DeSoto met tied for second in 8-6A with 8-3 records. The winner would clinch second and play the Lady Panthers. Playoff details were either going to be finalized Tuesday night or Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Lady Panthers played at district champion Carroll to conclude the regular season. These were challenges Sager welcomed.
“I really like the way this sets up for us,” Sager said. “The last two years we’ve played the Irving teams, played everybody, won by 20 points and moved into the playoffs and lost. With us playing playoff teams like Bell and Carroll, I think that should put us in a good mindset for the playoffs.”
As for how Sager was going to play the Carroll game, that had not been decided. Freshman phenom Bryn Gerlich suffered a sprained right ankle in the first half against L.D. Bell and did not return. Depending on her progress, Sager was unsure if she would even play Gerlich or let her rest before the playoffs.
Beyond the district schedule, Colleyville Heritage almost seems like a different team with the recent returns of guard Caitlyn Foster, forward Seairra Ford and post Charlotte Collyer. All three returned in the Feb. 2 game against Haltom and are continuing to add minutes, experience and depth.
Still, it’s been no secret that bi-district frustrations have hounded this program. Only once in the last five years have the Lady Panthers advanced to the area round. But there is a history of success.
“We have trophies where it shows we’ve beaten Duncanville to get to the regional tournament and had other great moments,” Sager said. “But the key is that when the season is over and the playoffs start it doesn’t matter what the record was. It’s 0-0 now. That’s all we care about.”
As for their chances of making a deep run, Sager said her team has to be a good on the boards to do that.
Sometimes, droughts last so long that few remember exactly when the last rainstorm was. Grapevine’s outright District 6-5A championship – clinched last Friday with a 44-25 victory at Lake Dallas – provided the program’s first district championship in at least a decade.
What is known is that victory gave the Lady Mustangs a 29-2 record, the most wins in any season. It broke the record of 28 wins set by the 2008-2009 team. Grapevine (11-0 in 6-5A) was likely going to pick up its 30th victory in Tuesday’s regular season finale against Fort Worth Polytechnic.
“It’s our senior night, and we want to go out the right way,” head coach Lindy Lombard said. “But we want to use this game in a game setting so we can be right when we go to the playoffs.”
Grapevine still doesn’t know who its bi-district opponent will be. The Lady Mustangs will face the fourth place team in District 5-5A.
Lombard said her team’s chances of making a deep playoff run would be fueled by everyone maintaining her role. This team has received some strong play from sophomore guard Tatum Tellin. She’s been in double figures scoring in each of the last two games.
“That’s what we’ve been waiting for from her,” Lombard said. “We know she can be a scorer. It’s exciting to see what she’s doing now.”