Permian’s comeback fell one point short Friday night.

Down by nine points entering the fourth quarter against Midland Lee, the Lady Panthers slowly worked themselves closer to a victory over the Lady Rebels, but to no avail.

Permian held Midland Lee to just one fourth-quarter basket, but couldn’t get the start to District 2-6A play it had hoped for, dropping a 42-41 decision at the Permian Fieldhouse.

Permian senior Alexis Contee led all scorers with 17 points, followed by teammate Klarrissa Cruz, who finished with 12.

Alaysha Green led Midland Lee with 12 points.

“It hurts,” Permian’s Angela Braziel-Smith said about the close loss.

After Midland Lee’s A’Quincia Strambler converted her team’s lone fourth-quarter basket to put the Lady Rebels back up nine, Permian (10-10 overall, 0-1 District 2-6A) starting mounting its comeback with six minutes to go in the game.

The Lady Panthers surge started when Cruz took a charge to nullify a Midland Lee basket. Then, near the midway point of the quarter, Contee made a 3-pointer to bring her team within four for the first time in the second half.

On the ensuing Midland Lee possession, Contee dove to steal a ball and called timeout — the Lady Panthers’ last with 3:33 to go.

In that 30-second huddle, Braziel-Smith preached to her team to play with energy and to attack the basket.

They did just that in the final three minutes as Midland Lee (12-11, 1-0) couldn’t sink a shot and had to call its final three timeouts during that stretch to try and find some consistency.

“We didn’t do a very good job of closing out that game,” Midland Lee head coach Alfred Acosta said. “And it’s kind of been an Achilles heel for us a little bit here recently.

“But at the end of the day, we’ve been on the wrong end of those here recently too, so it’s good to come out on top. It’s good to be 1-0.”

After Permian got within two with 30 seconds to go, they sent Midland Lee’s Paige Low to the free-throw line, but Low missed the free throw and Permian had a chance to tie the game.

Contee drove her way toward the hoop, put up a shot that hit the rim, got fouled and had her shot fall away from the basket — giving the Permian senior guard two free throws with 10 seconds to play.

She made the first, but the second hit the front him and landed in the hands of a Midland Lee player. The Lady Rebels dribbled the game out from there to escape with the narrow victory.

“There’s no such thing as an easy win in our district,” Acosta said. “So the fact that we came to their place and won at their place — whether it’s one, whether it’s 20, whatever it may be, the fact that we came out with a win, that’s the most important thing.”

After the game, Braziel-Smith knew her team could have done a few things differently to win its district-opener against Midland Lee for the second straight season.

“I think we got misplaced a couple times on defense and relaxed on offense instead of attacking and doing what were capable of doing,” Braziel-Smith said. “Offensively, I think we just never really got going.”

Midland Lee 42, Permian 41

MIDLAND LEE (12-11 overall, 1-0 District 2-6A)

Karigan Edwards 1 0-0 3, Alaysha Green 5 0-0 12, Jaisa Morris 0 0-0 0, Braydyn Hill 1 0-0 2, Destiny Stanford 2 0-2 5, A’Quincia Strambler 4 3-4 11, Elizabeth McRae 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Ross 0 0-0 0, Paige Low 4 1-4 9, Essence Glover 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 4-10 42.

PERMIAN (10-10, 0-1)

Jasmine Gasdon 0 0-0 0, Reyna Rayos 0 0-0 0, Kaeleigh Munguia 0 0-0 0, Natalie Baeza 0 0-0 0, Klarrissa Cruz 6 0-0 12, Artashia Armendariz 0 0-0 0, Alena Madero 4 0-0 8, Ashton Garner 2 0-0 4, Alexis Contee 6 2-4 17, Rosie Crawford 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 2-4 41.

Midland Lee………… 14.. 13   13     2   —    42

Permian……………… 10.. 12     9   10   —    41

3-Point goals — Midland Lee 4 (Green 2, Edwards 1, Stanford 1); Permian 3 (Contee 3). Total fouls — Midland Lee 13; Permian 15. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None. JV — Permian 43, Midland Lee 37.