The Lady Panthers, whose tallest starter is 5 feet, 5 inches, made it to the second round of the girls’ basketball playoffs before losing to Langham Creek 72-62 last Thursday at Coleman Coliseum.
All season the Panthers used their quickness, swarming defense, and a never-give-up attitude to make up for their lack of height, but a second quarter scoring drought against Langham Creek finally did them in.
The Lady Panthers started strong, grabbing a 23-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. But, the Lobos came out hot in the second quarter with an 11-2 scoring run in the first two minutes and tied the Lady Panthers at 27-27 with 5:53 to go in the half. The Lobos then outscored Ridge Point 11-6 to finish the half with a 38-33 lead.
In the third quarter Ridge Point regained their game and kept the score close with the quarter ending with the Lobos up 51-44.
The Lady Panthers then intensified their defense in the fourth quarter and pulled to within four points at 58-54 with four minutes to go, but they couldn’t get any closer. Ridge Point was called for 11 fouls in the second half to just one for Langham Creek, and the Lobos made their free throws to seal the victory 72-62.
Junior Taylor Thomas led Ridge Point with 20 points. Senior Jada McHenry added 15 points and freshman Aleighyah Fontenot had 13.
“This was a year filled with firsts in our program: first 20-plus win season, first placing in the Fort Bend ISD tournament, and first bi-district championship. We earned our best record overall (26-8) and our best district record (11-3) in school history, and we made our third straight playoff appearance,” Ridge Point Coach Michael Vitek said. “Some of the main things we focused on this season were consistency, being the best teammates to each other on and off the court, and doing the little things right.
“I feel we took some huge steps in the right direction but still have so much room for improvement. This team has so much talent but so many different personalities and such a wide age difference I didn’t know how we would mesh. In the past I have seen teams with a lot of talent fall apart and not achieve any of their goals. That was not the case with us. Some of our older kids showed a lot of maturity and leadership by putting the team first and showed what it is to be a Lady Panther basketball player.
“Our program will really miss this group of seniors: Jada McHenry, Lindsay Bush, Tia Pierre, Brittany Boatner, Trinity Morrison, Alex Williams, Lexie Weaver and Lauren Berk. The maturity, leadership and heart that McHenry brought to our program is something that I am grateful for and will truly miss! With five lettermen returning, I am really looking forward to what the future has to bring,” he said.