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GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Permian rallies past Midland High for first district win - Odessa American: Oavarsity

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GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Permian rallies past Midland High for first district win

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Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:37 pm

Even when trailing late in the fourth quarter, Permian girls basketball coach Macee Lane encouraged her team to keep battling. 

That perseverance paid off as the Lady Panthers scored seven unanswered points in the final minute for a 52-50 victory against Midland High in District 2-6A play Tuesday at the Permian Fieldhouse.

“One thing that stood out to me was our team never gave up,” Lane said. “They were relentless tonight and never hung their head when they got done. I’m glad they were rewarded for it.”

Trailing 50-45 with 49.2 seconds left, Jae Savage started the Permian (7-17 overall, 1-1 in district) run with a layup to cut the lead down to three. After a defensive stop, that set the stage for Karen Guzman, who hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 12.4 seconds to go to tie the game.

The Lady Panthers defense stood tall again and Camila Leal was fouled diving for a loose ball with five seconds left. Already in the double bonus, Leal calmly made two free throws to give Permian the lead before the defense prevented Midland High (9-17, 1-1) from getting off a final shot on its final possession.

“There was definitely some pressure,” said Leal on the free throws. “Everybody was yelling for me but I just had to focus on one thing and that was to make them.”

Guzman and Savage finished in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively. But senior forward Daysia Christian played a big role as well, finishing with a game-high 18 points.

Kobe Powell and Amaya Gill led the way for the Lady Dawgs with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

“Hats off to Permian for a great job and Macee had them ready to play,” Midland High coach Wes Torres said. “We did some things at the end that could’ve changed the outcome but we just didn’t execute very well.”

It was slow going early on for the Panthers as they managed just four points in the opening quarter.

Midland High had some early struggles offensively, as well, but closed the quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 11-4 after the first eight minutes.

Making matters tougher for Permian was that it had to deal with foul trouble in the first half. Christian picked up her second foul midway through the opening quarter while Savage had three fouls early in the second quarter.

Midland High took advantage of that situation and maintained a 16-9 lead in the second quarter but the Lady Panthers responded in a big way right before halftime. Christian and Guzman scored the last eight points of the half as part of a 12-3 run.

The result: Permian took a 21-19 lead into halftime.

“That was huge for our confidence,” Lane said. “We haven’t won a lot of games but the girls play hard. We still executed our game plan and never wavered from it.”

Christian picked up where she left off in the first half, scoring the first two baskets of the half for Permian and finished with 10 points for the quarter.

The Lady Dawgs kept pace in the quarter by working the ball inside and getting some timely shots from Powell and Gill but a Christian layup in the final seconds of the quarter gave Permian a 36-34 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“We just had to look for open people and not be selfish with the ball,” Christian said. “We did a better job of that later in the game.”

That set the stage for a back-and-forth final eight minutes and it appeared Midland High was going to pull away, going up by as many as six points twice in the final quarter.

The Lady Panthers, however, hung around and got and locked down defensively to set the stage for the closing run to earn their first district win.

“We just wanted to come out and prove people wrong,” Guzman said. “Everyone has doubted us and we wanted to make a point. We’ve come a long way since the start of the season and we all want the same thing and that’s to win.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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