The Panthers lost their 10th consecutive district game Tuesday night against the Mansfield Tigers.
Midlothian had a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t hold back the Tigers as they outscored the Panthers 18-7 in the fourth quarter to win 51-41.
Panther head coach Terrance McCloud said his boys played hard for three quarters, but they couldn’t finish the deal.
“We did a great job for the majority of the game,” McCloud said. “We just couldn’t close it out. You gotta close the door, and good teams do that. We’re not to that point yet. Hopefully, we’ll learn to get there.”
The Panthers had the Tigers on the ropes as Brandon Klor and Jeff Wilson made key shots that kept their team in the game. Klor lead his team with 16 points. Wilson added 11 points, but the shots stopped falling.
McCloud said between his team going cold from the floor and the lack of rebounding is what allowed the Tigers back in the game.
“When it mattered, our shots didn’t fall,” McCloud said. “We had good looks at the basket and couldn’t convert. In addition to that, we didn’t rebound well. There were times we could have extended our lead and we didn’t.”
He gave a lot of credit to Mansfield for hanging in there with them. The coach added that they made shots at crucial times, which lead to their win.
“At the end, we missed defensive assignments and we let their best player get wide open and take a three,” McCloud said. “That’s what good players do in those situations.”
He said they always talk about the importance of communicating when getting back on defense, and those missed assignments can’t happen in close games.
“You gotta make sure everyone is being covered,” McCloud said. “We collapsed. We didn’t communicate and he came down the floor, caught the ball in rhythm and drained it.”
This was a very tough loss, but the Panters can’t afford to dwell on it because they must prepare for DeSoto, which is one of the top teams in the state.
“It’s going to be tough to rebound from this, but you have to find a way,” McCloud said. “You have to figure out a way to get motivated.”
The team is going to review lots of film to see what they did well the last time they faced DeSoto. They will try to perpetuate those things and correct the things they didn’t do well. He feels they will have somewhat of an advantage, because the DeSoto Eagles will be playing without one of their better post players.
“They will have to learn to play without him,” McCloud said. “Hopefully, while they are figuring it out, we can exploit some of the things they want to do and have some successes during that game.”
The coach said he believes his team will perform well, because they will be facing a really good team.
“One of the motivations is the fact that they are one of the top teams in the state,” McCloud said. “We’re going to their place. If we don’t go in there and fight, they are going to do their best to embarrass us. we’re going in there to win, and not to be embarrassed. To me that’s motivation. Going up against the best and seeing how you measure up can only serve as inspiration.”
Mansfield (5-18, 0-10 district) will face the No. 2 DeSoto Eagles (20-3, 9-2 in 7-5A) at 7:30 p.m. tonight in DeSoto.