PALMER — After beating local rival Palmer High School 46-34 on Tuesday at Palmer High School Gymnasium, the varsity Maypearl Panthers moved into a four-way tie for fourth place in the district 12-3A basketball standings.
It’s something Panthers head coach Jason Lawson said he hasn’t seen in his tenure as a Maypearl coach
“It’s a pretty weird situation,” he said. “I’m sure it’s happened before, but I’ve never seen it.”
For the topsy-turvy playoff scenario to exist, Maypearl, Scurry-Rosser, Life Oak Cliff and Kemp high schools had to finish with 5-9 district records and win all their home games and lose all their road matchups against each of the other three teams.
The Panthers’ road to the playoffs was made more special by their early season struggles. On Jan. 22, the end of their first round of district games, the Panthers were 1-6 and dead last in the 12-3A standings.
Between Jan. 29 and Feb. 16, Maypearl reeled off four wins against Life Oak Cliff, Scurry-Rosser and Kemp, the teams that will play in Friday’s fourth place tourney to decide the final playoff berth.
“The coolest thing about our team is I said absolutely nothing,” Lawson said. “We just kept working and grinding and proved we belong in the playoff picture.”
Scurry-Rosser will face Life Oak Cliff at 6 p.m. and Maypearl will play Kemp at 8 p.m. at Ensign Gymnasium, with the winners of each game to battle for fourth place at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Ensign Gymnasium.
Though the stakes are high, Lawson said he and his players feel good about the journey to the playoffs and about having their own destiny in their collective hands.
“We’re in a good spot. The second round, we beat the three other teams,” he said. “If I know my team well enough, they’re not satisfied with almost making the playoffs and almost being in. I know they want more.”