Redemption & Persistence On The Basketball Courts
The girls basketball season for area high school teams featured what could be the best season in a team’s history, what might have matched a team’s best season, a story of redemption and persistence and 10 playoff teams.
The Midlothian Lady Panthers (21-11) made what could have been team history by reaching the Class 5A Region II finals for the first time. Once there, they took eventual state champion Frisco Liberty to the brink, falling after three overtimes, 48-43.
The back-and-forth defensive contest saw the teams tied at the end of regulation, 30-30. Then, after each scored six in the first overtime and three in the second, Liberty pulled away.
The Lady Panthers’ deepest playoff appearance before this season, according to records that go back as far as 1990 on the website theathleticsdepartment.com, was the regional quarterfinals in 1997.
The Lady Panthers finished second to Red Oak in District 14-5A. At one time they were 8-9 with a four-game losing streak before winning 13 of their next 14, including eight straight before the regional final.
In that same region, the Red Oak Lady Hawks (28-7) matched what could be the deepest playoff run in team history, according to the same website, reaching the 5A Region II semifinals, also being eliminated by Liberty, 42-36.
Duncanville battles off-court drama for state title
The Duncanville Pantherettes (40-3), just one season after being placed on probation by the University Interscholastic League and having lost their coach, Cathy Self-Morgan, who retired amid the controversy (and being suspended three seasons), returned to the top of the proverbial mountain with a state title in Class 6A. They did so under the guidance of new head coach LaJeanna Howard, who was no stranger to the program.
Howard previously won a championship as a player at Duncanville in 2003 and was an assistant coach for their title in 2016.
The Pantherettes’ championship was the 11th in team history in their 26th state appearance. This was the eighth consecutive decade in which the Pantherettes have sent a team to state.
Joining Duncanville at state were the Mansfield Timberview Lady Wolves (31-9), who reached the Class 5A semifinals. It was their third state tourney appearance in four seasons and fifth since 2009.
On their way to state, the Pantherettes dashed the dreams of the DeSoto Lady Eagles (32-3), 2019’s Class 6A runner-up, in the third round. A fourth-quarter 11-5 run lifted the Pantherettes to a 47-43 win over DeSoto, which, at one point in the season, had been the nation’s No. 1 team.
The Pantherettes also eliminated another area team that was hoping to make its first state tournament appearance since 1997, edging the Cedar Hill Lady Longhorns, 56-54, in the Region I final.
Area Girls Basketball Recap
Duncanville (40-3): Class 6A state champions. Defeated Mansfield Summit in bi-district, 65-47; defeated Lewisville in area, 52-36; defeated DeSoto in Region I quarterfinals, 47-43; defeated Arlington Martin in Region I semifinals, 66-49; defeated Cedar Hill in Region I final, 56-54; defeated Converse Judson in state semifinals, 45-36; defeated Houston Cypress Creek in state final, 63-47.
Mansfield Timberview (31-9): Class 5A state semifinals. Defeated Fort Worth Eastern Hills in bi-district, 84-20; defeated Denton Braswell in area, 55-36; defeated The Colony in Region I quarterfinals, 64-50; defeated Wichita Falls Rider in Region I semifinals, 53-49; defeated Amarillo in Region I final, 51-49; lost to San Antonio Veterans Memorial in state semifinals, 45-44.
Midlothian (21-11): 5A Region II finals. Defeated Mesquite Poteet in bi-district, 48-34; defeated Royse City in area, 62-53; defeated Jacksonville in Region II quarterfinals, 42-38; defeated Frisco Lone Star in Region II semifinals, 43-41; lost to Frisco Liberty in Region I final, 48-43 in three overtimes.
Cedar Hill (31-10): 6A Region I finals. Defeated Richardson in bi-district, 51-42; defeated Denton Guyer in area, 48-47; defeated South Grand Prairie in Region I quarterfinals, 41-33; defeated Frenship in Region I semifinals, 53-49; lost to Duncanville in Region I final, 56-54.
Red Oak (28-7): 5A Region II semifinals. Defeated West Mesquite in bi-district, 72-34; defeated Mount Pleasant in area, 81-43; defeated Lancaster in Region II quarterfinals, 63-50; lost to Frisco Liberty in Region II semifinals, 42-36.
DeSoto (32-3): 6A Region I quarterfinals. Defeated Richardson Pearce in bi-district, 97-18; defeated Southlake Carroll in area, 65-33; lost to Duncanville in Region I quarterfinals, 47-43.
Lancaster: 5A Region II quarterfinals: Defeated Joshua in bi-district, 65-22; defeated Lufkin in area, 72-44; lost to Red Oak in Region II quarterfinals, 63-50.
Mansfield Legacy (20-14): 5A area finals. Defeated Fort Worth Wyatt in bi-district, 76-41; lost to Lake Dallas in area, 43-40.
Midlothian Heritage (26-12): Lost to Lorena in 5A bi-district, 48-37.
Mansfield Summit (23-13): Lost to Duncanville in 6A bi-district, 65-47.
Mansfield (18-14): No playoffs in 6A.
Mansfield Lake Ridge (19-15): No playoffs in 6A.
Wilmer-Hutchins: No playoffs in 4A.
Venus: No playoffs in 4A.