The Midlothian Lady Panthers and Red Oak Lady Hawks are two teams trending in opposite directions through two district basketball games.
Luckily for Red Oak, there is still plenty of time to right the ship.
The Lady Panthers opened their district season with a win Tuesday, Dec. 12 on the road against Red Oak.
The win moved Midlothian to 10-7 on the season and 1-0 in District 10-5A, while Red Oak fell to 5-7 and 0-1 in district action.
Red Oak then fell Friday, Dec. 15 to Mansfield Legacy behind Harmoni Turner's 31 points to drop to 0-2 in district play, while the Lady Panthers improved to 11-7 on the year and 2-0 in the district with a 30-27 overtime win at home that same evening.
MIDLOTHIAN V LANCASTER
The Lady Panthers did not reach double-digit scoring as a team in any of the five quarters of play Friday evening but held Lancaster scoreless in the overtime frame for the three-point, 30-27, win.
"Obviously, any overtime game is a nailbiter," said Midlothian head girls' basketball coach Amy Tennison. "It was ugly, but we'll take it."
“I have to give Lancaster credit, they can roll points off quickly. But our kids did a really good job getting stops. We just could not get anything going offensively tonight. “
The Lady Panthers carried a 16-14 lead into the halftime locker room
“We made some adjustments at halftime just to see how [Lancaster] would adjust," explained Tennison of the 9-7 Lady Tigers' run. "The third quarter was (a struggle) for us, so then we decided to go back with the pressure. They were able to capitalize on little mistakes that we were making and kept the ball in play.”
The game entered the third quarter with the two teams knotted at 23-all. It continued that way into overtime tied 27-27.
A pair of Tatum Sorrels free throws and a split trip to the line by Sarah Williams, who scored a game-high 13 points, was enough for the Lady Panthers to hold onto the 30-27 win.
“One thing we did do well was rebound the ball," Tennison said. "I think that is the reason we pulled it out. But obviously, there was a lot of turnovers on both sides of the ball, and we found a way to pull it out.”
The Midlothian head coach added, “The kids played harder, but they have to find a way to play smarter and clean up our execution. It’s still early in the district, and we'll take a 2-0 start to district.”
Sorrels added 10 points to Williams' 13, while Cristina Balderrama and Mikaela McGuire had three points, each.
MIDLOTHIAN V RED OAK
Midlothian outscored the Lady Hawks 22-14 over the second and third quarters of the 49-42 victory.
"We finally finished a game," Tennison said. "Four of our seven losses have been by four points or less. I think our kids being put into situations like that has helped them overcome tight games."
She added, "Obviously, we want to make the playoffs and I think we are capable. We just have to keep up our execution and keep playing together. This is a step in the right direction for us."
Kierra Middleton went 9-of-13 from the charity stripe for her game-high 23 points. She drained six of those free throws during her 10-point fourth quarter to help keep the Lady Panthers on pace with an 18-point Red Oak offensive output.
Cristina Balderrama scored 13 points, Sarah Williams added six, Zoriah Johnson had three, and Tatum Sorrels and Savanna Glossup each had two points.
Brooklyn Evans scored 18 points to lead Red Oak, while Aliyah Johnson added nine more.
Red Oak head girls’ basketball coach Darren Eubanks said his team’s goal of winning the district title has not changed, but noted the Lady Hawks would need to shoot better, especially from the free throw line and on fast breaks.
"We have to make free throws, and we have to do a better job of finishing. We left a lot of points out there. We just have to keep working,” Eubanks said.
"[…] Our goal is to win the district, and that will always be the goal. We are just going to keep working and see what we can do. The goal is to win the district. We made it tough on ourselves tonight, but that is still our goal."
The Midlothian Lady Panthers travel to Mansfield to face the (7-6, 1-1) Mansfield Legacy Lady Broncos. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Red Oak will play in the 78th annual Dallas ISD Coca-Cola Holiday Invitational. The Lady Hawks face Dallas Pinkston in the opener of the three-day tournament Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 6 p.m.