PALMER — The Lady Bulldogs continued their undefeated streak Tuesday, knocking off the UIL's 4A Alvarado High School 43-32 at Palmer High School Gymnasium.
The win also marked the first time the 3A Palmer varsity girls basketball team started its season 4-0 since the 2014-15 season.
"I've had these seniors for four years — three as a head coach and one as an assistant — and watched them get better each year," said Ted Shurtleff, the head basketball coach at Palmer High School. "We different than last year, too. We don't have the big posts we had in the past so we play a four out, one in scheme predicated on girls hitting outside shots. Dom (Flores), who scoring something like 16 points per game, does a great job at that. Teryn Pritchett, despite being smaller, is stronger than most girls at her position and outworks other girls down low."
Shurtleff, who coached college basketball for 10 years, credited Flores, Prichett, JoJo Davidson and his senior class for creating the buzz that's brought a record number of girls into the Palmer basketball program.
Led by the 5-foot-8 duo of Flores (24 pts, 7 rebs, 6 stls) and Pritchett (9 pts, 12 rebs), Palmer outscored Alvarado in every quarter and held the Lady Indians to a meager 13 points in the second half. The Lady Bulldog defense, which has allowed an average of 26.8 points during the four-game stretch, held Alvarado's leading scorer to under 15 points.
"Staying in a zone defense helped us shut down driving lanes and staying on shooters so they didn't get shots up limited what they could do offensively," Pritchett said. "I think the Alvarado game showed we're fixing some our biggest issues [last season] — composure, tempers and staying out of foul trouble. Our game has improved since the season started both physically and mentally. We're beginning to understand the game, we were talk to each other and letting each player know what was going on and make smarter decisions in quick situations."
Senior Damyani Collier scored only 12 points and hit 24 percent (4-for-17) of her shots from the field, including 1-for-7 from the 3-point line. No other player scored in double figures and five of the team's eight players scored two or fewer points. Palmer's roster was far more versatile.
Senior Haley Coffee, the Lady Bulldogs' second-leading rebounder (6 rpg), scored four points and pulled down nine rebounds Tuesday night and junior Sierra Stone had two points, three rebounds and five assists. Davidson scored two points, recorded four rebounds and had one steal.
The Lady Bulldogs will face Terrell High School in the first round of Thursday's three-day Venus High School Varsity Tournament at VHS Gymnasium.
"I would love for us to play better defense, but if we can hold teams to 35 and under, I think will be good," he said. "We've got tough tests against Terrell and Midlothian Heritage (High Schools) that will help prepare for our district. With teams like Maypearl and Grandview in our district, every game is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight to determine a winner."