The District 16-5A girls basketball championship may have slipped away for Texas High Tuesday at the Tiger Center.
"I think it's still up for grabs, maybe not the championship," THS coach Craig Collvins said after watching the host Lady Tigers fall to 2-3 in league play after losing to Mount Pleasant, 61-56. The visiting Lady Tigers are now 17-8 overall and 5-0 in district play. They host Sulphur Springs Friday for undisputed possession of first place, while Texas High travels to Greenville with hopes of keeping its postseason plans alive.
Mount Pleasant scored the game's first five points only to see THS storm back and take a 6-5 lead on baskets by Maranda Miller, Asia Lloyd and two free throws by Blaire Bledsoe.
MP outscored the host team 15-4 over the final three minutes as Texas High committed 13 of its 20 first half turnovers. Texas High (10-11) rallied within three behind an offensive spurt from Antonia Porter, who scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the second quarter. Mount Pleasant's lead was 33-28 at intermission thanks to 10 points and eight rebounds by Shakyra Hutchings.
That lead was grow to 11 in the third quarter when Sakaria Grant swished three of her five treys to build a 50-39 advantage, but with 58 seconds left in that quarter Grant drew her fourth foul, followed by a technical that sent her to the dressing room. She finished the game with 16 points, one less than Hutchings, who also grabbed 16 rebounds to help MP win the battle on the glass, 55-40.
"Looking at it on the positive side I thought we came back in the second half and played defense," Collvins said. "We knocked it down to a two possession game late, but they pushed it back up on rebounds and missed assignments. When we look back on this game, rebounding and missed assignments on the back end of our press just killed us.
"Mount Pleasant deserves credit, the girls played hard. They came out of the gate swinging. We play a similar game on defense, but we don't have the post players they had. Our kids give us what they've got. Twenty turnovers in the first half is uncharacteristic for us. I thought we organized ourselves better in the final two quarters. We missed a lot of shots in the paint. Other than that I can't fault our kids' effort. The effort has always been there. We've got to clean up some stuff to win these tight games."
Texas High's deficit was only four points with 3:24 left in the game after field goals by Vicki Willis and Mia Wilson. The outcome was still in doubt when Wilson's conventional 3-point play with 1:28 remaining made it 59-53. A trey by Unique McBride accounted for the game's final three points with 10 seconds left.
Willis scored 11 points for THS.
The two teams combined for 57 turnovers, 28 by Texas High.
In preliminary action Texas High's junior varsity beat MP, 38-33. Sedaya Finley led the winners with 11 points, while Alexia Nance scored 16 for MP.
Mount Pleasant 20 13 17 11 — 61
Texas High 10 18 14 14 — 56
MP (61): Craddock 3 0-1 6, Dickerson 3 3-7 9, Grant 5 1-4 16, Martin 1 0-1 2, Hutchings 7 3-7 17, Howard 1 0-0 2, Baldwin 2 4-8 9, TOTALS 22 11-28 61.
THS (56): Willis 5 0-0 11, Porter 5 2-6 12, McBride 4 0-0 9, Rone 3 0-0 6, Wilson 2 1-1 5, Morrison 3 0-0 6, Bledsoe 0 3-4 3, Lloyd 1 0-1 2, Miller 1 0-0 2, TOTALS 24 6-12 56.
3-point goals: MP-Grant 5, Baldwin. THS-Willis, McBride. Team Fouls: Mount Pleasant 15, Texas High 21. Fouled out: Grant, Willis, Porter. Technical foul: Grant.