GARLAND — After a come-from-behind gut-check win against Frisco Lone Star on Friday night, not 14 hours earlier, the Midlothian Lady Panthers once again took the floor against another Frisco team, the Liberty Lady Red Hawks, at the Culwell Center on Saturday afternoon.

But this outing was for a chance to secure their spot in the Texas State UIL Girls Basketball Tournament next week in San Antonio. However, in a hard-fought battle royal, the Lady Panthers lost in a heartbreaker of a game that ended after 4 quarters and 3 overtime periods before the Liberty ladies finally won the contest, 48-43.

Both teams appeared to have tired legs as the first quarter was very sluggish with Midlothian holding a slim 4-2 lead into the second quarter. Both Liberty and Midlothian picked up the pace a bit, to the next frame where the Lady Panthers took a 14-10 score into the locker room at half.

The game continued to develop into a defensive struggle, with neither team giving an inch. Liberty did, however, close the gap to 23-22 as they entered the fourth quarter. The outstanding defense continued from both sides, as the Red Hawks emerged to tie the score at the end of regulation at 33-all, and so overtime followed.

In a game that appeared to take on the characteristics of a heavyweight fight, both teams stood toe-to-toe and traded their best blows, with neither one able to put the other one away. They then headed into another second overtime tied once again, at 36-36. The game continued with both teams unable to put the other one away. The score was tied 39-39 heading into the third overtime.

The Lady Panthers and the Lady Red Hawks were exhausted, but both seemed determined to leave nothing on the court. However, the Red Hawks finally were then able to pull away by a score of 48-43, and thus, put an end to the magical season that the Lady Panthers had fashioned, as well as their hopes of going to the State Title game in San Antonio next week.

The Lady Panthers held their heads high, as they were able to leave the court with the Regional Finalist Trophy, knowing that they had gone deeper into the playoffs than they had been expected to go. The Lady Panthers were led in scoring by freshman Kadia Ward with 17 points, senior Jerica Henderson with 11 points and freshman Bailey Davis who added 5 points. Defensive standout junior Maykala Jackson did not score as much as she did on Friday night, but was able to contribute in other ways until fouling out of the game in the first overtime period.

The Lady Red Hawks of Frisco were led by sophomore Jazzy Owens-Barnett with 22 points, junior Lily Ziemkiewicz added 11 points, and junior Maya Jain pitched in with 9 points.

MHS 43, Lone Star 41

GARLAND — The Lady Panthers showed Lone Star their true warrior’s heart in a contest that should have probably gone down with quite a different ending. However, the Lady Panthers came out on top, in an exciting finish of the game.

Midlothian came out strong and took the play to Lone Star in the first quarter and carried a 12-8 lead into the second period. Lone Star also proved to have some heart and stormed back, out-scoring the Lady Panthers by a 17-9 score and led 25-21 as the first half ended. Frisco extended their lead to 37-28 by the end of the third quarter.

Lone Star thought that they had punched their ticket for a Saturday afternoon match-up against crosstown rival Frisco Liberty. Nobody thought to let the Lady Panthers in on that scenario, as their warrior’s heart was in full display in the fourth quarter. Midlo continued to scratch and claw their way back into the game and tied the contest at 41-41 with 2 minutes left in regulation.

Outstanding defense was the nature of the last 2 minutes, as both teams struggled to get an open shot. Midlothian was the only team to score in the final 2 minutes and then survived a last shot heart breaker taken by Lone Star’s star player Kyla Deck from mid-court, that circled the inside of the rim and then fell harmlessly to the floor, sending the Panther Nation into celebration – and the Lone Star Rangers into just thinking about what might have been.

Lone Star was led in scoring by the aforementioned sophomore Deck with 16 points, and she was helped by senior Halley Carr with 11 points and senior Victoria Gooden who contributed 7 points.

Midlothian was led by freshman Kadia Ward with 18 points, junior Maykayla Jackson with 8 points, and junior Landri Schreier who had 7 points and played most of the entire game, the Lady Panther player who was tasked with covering Deck, Lone Star’s “MVP” of the night.