RIO VISTA, Texas — Palmer's Lady Bulldogs earned their fourth consecutive win after knocking off Rio Vista High School 54-53 on the road Friday at RVHS Gymnasium.
They also had to erase a double-digit lead to move into a two-way tie with Blooming Grove High School for third place.
"Palmer came back from a 16-point third quarter deficit to steal a one-point victory," said Ted Shurtleff, the head girls' basketball coach at Palmer High School. "They showed a lot of guts and will and could have given up and let the game turn into a blowout but they didn't. They played hard in the second half and got the stops when they needed them. Tonight was a total team effort."
Led by seniors inside dominance of seniors Haley Coffey, Dom Flores and Teryn Pritchett and the long-distance theatrics of senior Cayden Critchfield, the Lady Bulldogs rallied in the third and fourth quarters after entering halftime with a 28-18 deficit.
Pritchett played her first game since suffering a hand injury that shelved Palmer's leading rebounder for six weeks.
While Dom Flores scored a team-leading 14 points on 50 percent (5-for-10) shooting from the field, Haley Coffey chipped in 12 points on 60 percent (6-for-10) 2-point field goal shooting. Their dominance on the glass and propensity to step into passing lanes aided their bid for a district win, too.
Four players — Pritchett (7), Coffey (6), freshman Tiffany Sadler (6) and junior Sierra Stone (5) — each had five or more rebounds and every player tallied at least one. Thirteen of the Lady Bulldogs' 33 rebounds were offensive boards and they forced double-digit turnovers with steals from Pritchett (5), Flores (3), Sierra Stone (3), Tiffany Sadler (1) and JoJo Davidson (1).
"We had contributions from every player — from the first to the 11th," Shurtleff said. "Cayden hit a deep two to give us our first lead since the first quarter and we rebounded well, especially offensively. Beating Rio Vista made us 3-2 in district and set up Tuesday's game with and undefeated Grandview. We'll need to stop having the one bad quarter and play a complete game. If we can do that, we'll have a chance to shake up the district standings."
Palmer moved to 14-11 overall and 3-2 in District 19-2A and will face Grandview High School at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at PHS Gymnasium in Palmer. A Lady Gladiator win would not only hand the Lady Zebras their 10th overall and first district losses of the season, but it would also — with a loss by undefeated district rival Maypearl — muddy the waters of the district championship picture.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusMarionWNI.