In the early moments of the Odessa High girls basketball team’s District 2-6A and season finale, it controlled the tempo and held a lead over Midland High.
Then late in the second quarter, the Lady Dawgs made a run with a few consecutive baskets and never looked back.
And when the final horn rang, the score showed how Midland High flexed its muscle in the second half.
The Lady Dawgs downed the Lady Bronchos 45-23 at the OHS Fieldhouse by holding Odessa High to just seven second-half points.
“We played two great quarters and then the other two, we just kind of left them two quarters in the locker room,” Odessa High head coach Olivia Pyburn said.
On senior night, Odessa High (5-24 overall, 0-10 district) started the team’s four seniors — Aneth Jimenez, Alyssa Garcia, Mariah Sanchez and Arianna Aguilar — along with three-year starting junior Skylar Herrera.
Since Odessa High’s loss to Permian Friday, the four seniors and Herrera had practiced as a unit to prepare for the final game of the season.
That veteran experience gave Odessa High the lead for nearly the entire first half. As the second quarter went on, however, Midland High’s shots started to fall and the momentum swayed away from the Lady Bronchos for the final time this season.
“I was hoping to pull out a win for our seniors,” Pyburn said. “That first half, they really gave us a good lift and played hard.”
Those were the only five Lady Bronchos to touch the court until there was 2:29 left in the second quarter, when Pyburn subbed out Garcia and Herrera for Alexis Luna and Amber Escontrias.
“Well you know they say ‘play every game like it’s your last’ well, literally, today was our last,” Sanchez said about her final game in a Lady Broncho uniform. “So it was important for us to go out there and play really hard and play as a team and communicate and give it our all.”
In the second half, Midland High (22-13, 6-4) outscored Odessa High 29-7 and showed why its 2017-18 campaign has been a turnaround year, going from one district win a year ago, to six this season.
That’s also quite the difference from a team that had scored five points in the contest’s first 13 minutes.
“We weren’t hitting shots and that’s going to happen sometimes,” Midland High head coach Wes Torres said. “We missed a lot of perimeter shots that we normally knock down.”
Torres pointed to his team’s defense as to how it finished off the game with such superiority. The Lady Dawgs held Odessa High to three second-half field goals.
Midland High and Midland Lee tied for third in the district standings and will flip for which team gets the higher seed. The loser of the flip will take on the District 1-6A champion in the bi-district round of the playoffs next week.
El Paso Franklin and El Paso Pebble Hills are the two opponents the MISD girls basketball teams will face in the first round.
Odessa High’s playoff drought continues as the Lady Bronchos haven’t made the postseason since 2005.
This season was the Lady Bronchos’ first winless district campaign since Pyburn took over the program in July 2015.
Pyburn said the team will return six or seven players with a full year of varsity experience next season. She hopes that this year’s struggles lead to future program success.
“Our record really doesn’t indicate the type of kids that we have in this program,” Pyburn said. “Every day regardless of our record, regardless of the score, they kept coming back and giving us everything they’ve got. That’s one reason they make me proud to be the coach here because I have relentless kids.”
MIDLAND HIGH (22-13 overall, 6-4 District 2-6A)
Maya Duarte 1 0-0 2, Quay Webster 3 0-0 6, Taysha Rushton 4 2-2 13, Jurnee Williams 6 2-3 14, Racey Haile 0 0-0 0, Teleshia Defell 4 1-1 9, Sadie Govan 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 6-8 45.
ODESSA HIGH (5-24, 0-10)
Aneth Jimenez 3 0-0 9, Alyssa Garcia 0 0-0 0, Arianna Aguilar 0 1-4 1, Mariah Sanchez 1 0-0 2, Skylar Herrera 4 0-0 8, Kheeauna Lide 0 0-0 0, Roxana Jimenez 0 0-0 0, Elena Brito 0 0-0 0, Itayla Saenz 0 0-0 0, Amber Escontrias 1 0-0 2, Melina Escogido 0 0-0 0, Abigail Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Alexis Luna 0 1-2 1. Totals 9 2-6 23.
Midland High………… 5.. 11 15 14 — 45
Odessa High……….. 10…. 6 4 3 — 23
3-Point goals — Midland High 3 (Rushton 3); Odessa High 3 (A. Jimenez 3). Total fouls — Midland High 14, Odessa High 12. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None. JV — Midland High 50, Odessa High 28.
Team W L W L
x-Wolfforth Frenship……… 26 8 8 2
x-Amarillo Tascosa……… 21 11 8 2
x-Midland High……………. 22 13 6 4
x-Midland Lee…………….. 17 15 6 4
Permian……………………… 12 16 2 8
Odessa High………………… 5 24 0 10
x-clinched playoff berth
Friday, Feb. 2
Permian 51, Odessa High 42
Midland Lee 48, Midland High 34
Wolfforth Frenship 56, Amarillo Tascosa 53
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Amarillo Tasocsa 87, Permian 24
Midland High 45, Odessa High 23
Midland Lee 40, Wolfforth Frenship 37
END OF REGULAR SEASON