MAYPEARL — The Lady Panthers solidified their stranglehold on the District 17-3A lead after their 36-27 win over Keene High School on Tuesday at Maypearl High School Gymnasium.
With the win and 10 points from junior guard Alyssa Holder, Maypearl (13-4, 3-0) moved into a two-way tie for first place with rival Grandview High School.
"Offensively it was probably my best game of the season," Holder said. "I normally do better on defense, but we had good ball movement which made open gaps for me to drive [to the basket]."
Those open lanes didn't only allow Holder access to the paint, though. It also provided space for devastating penetrators like Maddie Creech, Kynlee Herrin and Sheltyn Campbell to attack the edges of the Lady Chargers' interior defense.
In addition to Creech, Herrin and Campbell's eight, seven and five respective point totals, every single player on the roster scored at least two points during the victory.
"Usually a team has one or two players they depend on to win. Our team depends on everyone," Holder continued. "We have shooters, rebounders and defenders on this team, but we are dangerous everywhere. Every game might feature different player that steps up and helps us win. That makes us a big threat to teams in our district and in the state. If one of us is having a bad game, we have a whole team of great players that can take their place. That's not true for a lot of teams that struggle when their star player has a bad night."
The Lady Panthers beat Keene despite one of their worst shooting nights of the season. Outside of Holder's 4-for-6 shooting from the field, the team shot 8-for-36 (22 percent) from the field and 3-for-15 (20 percent) from behind the arc.
They did, however, control the rebounding edge with the physical play of freshman Sol Cabuto, junior Phylicia Grimes and senior Zhanae Coleman, who accounted for 16 of Maypearl's 28 rebounds. Cabuto led the team with seven and Coleman and Grimes added five and four respectively.
Tuesday's victory capped a four-game win streak, leading the Lady Panthers into arguably their toughest test of the season — District 7-3A's Brock High School. The Lady Eagles are currently 14-7 overall and 2-0 in their district.
They also returned six girls from the 2015-16 team that finished their district schedule 13-1, made the UIL playoffs and lost 24-21 to Wall High School in the 3A state championship game. Brock also eliminated Maypearl from the bi-district round, beating the Lady Panthers 60-41 on Jan. 16.
The two teams are scheduled to play at noon Dec. 29 at BHS Gymnasium.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusMarionWNI.