aBy ALEX RILEY
Daily Light sports writer
MIDLOTHIAN — You can never be totally sure how a group of players will react to senior night. But the Midlothian girls basketball players quickly showed on Tuesday they had saved the best for last.
The four seniors taking part in their final high school game combined for 80 percent of the team’s points against Waco University as the Lady Panthers posted a season-high point-total in a 72-40 win.
“We wanted to go out with a bang,” senior Trisha Dupree said.
And that they did.
Led by Natalie Ruud’s 20 points and 10 rebounds, the group of Ruud, Dupree, Samantha Jackson and Lauren Daniell combined for 58 of the 72 points scored, eclipsing the old mark of 60 set back on Nov. 21 against Carrollton Creekview.
Dupree finished with 19 while Jackson posted 13. Daniell finished with just five but doled out a half dozen assists and came up with a handful of steals that led to easy transitional buckets for her teammates.
The foursome started the night off strong posting all of the team’s first 23 points and 29 of the 30 points on the board at the half. Ruud started things off with three 3-pointers and a pair of assists while Jackson hit three early shots that led to a 17-0 lead.
Dupree would start the second half off with a 3-pointer as Midlothian raced out to a 33-10 lead.
With the game well in hand, coach Brooke Walthall went through some light substitutions and let all four seniors play to start the fourth quarter. While Ruud, Jackson and Dupree cleared double-figures, Daniell got the last shot on her classmates, nailing a 3-pointer that put the Lady Panthers up 31 at 70-39 with time winding down.
“I think that they were excited to play,” Walthall said. “They’ve been here for four years and they’ve been working hard this whole time and I’m glad that they got to go out with a bang because they needed it.”
While the team will miss the playoffs as the fifth-seeded squad in District 16-4A, each of the seniors expressed how proud she was to have helped the program turn around from a four-win season last year.
Each hopes that the work she’s done will help build a foundation for future success to come.
“We had ups and downs on the team as a whole with wins and losses. But we pushed through,” Jackson said. “This win was awesome. It feels great.”