Too little, too late for the Lady Panthers.
The Permian girls basketball team fought to the bitter end in the fourth quarter Tuesday night in the Permian Fieldhouse, but Wolfforth Frenship had already made its big push in the third, and put the Lady Panthers in too big a hole to climb out of on the way to a 54-45 victory — a result that eliminates Permian from playoff contention.
Wolfforth Frenship led 16-14 at halftime, then dominated out of the break to put together a 16-2 run to open the third quarter, building a 41-26 advantage by the fourth quarter.
Permian battled back and outscored the Lady Tigers in the final frame, cutting the margin to as little as six points in the waning minutes, but it wasn’t enough.
The loss drops Permian to 1-7 in district play, and ends the Lady Panthers’ postseason hopes.
Frenship used its havoc-wreaking press defense to break open the game in the third, in much the way the Lady Tigers have throughout their 7-1 start to league play.
The Lady Tigers clamped down and gave the Lady Panthers fits, making it a battle just to get the ball out of the backcourt during that stretch to start the third. Frenship poked away steals and forced Permian turnovers on the way to doubling up the Lady Panthers at 32-16 midway through the period.
Still, even after that game-deciding stretch, Permian battled back to outscore Frenship 21-13 in the fourth, and that effort in fighting back was something Lady Panthers head coach Angela Braziel-Smith pointed to after Tuesday’s finish.
Frenship trounced Permian 71-26 in their first meeting, but even after that result, and after the Lady Tigers’ suffocating play in the third quarter Tuesday, the Lady Panthers kept their mettle.
“Just keep fighting,” Braziel-Smith said of her message after the loss. She pointed to that earlier loss to Frenship on the road.
“To come back here and just play hard — that says a lot for our team,” she added.
Early in Tuesday’s game, Permian trailed 16-5 with less than three minutes left in the second quarter, but put together a 9-0 run to make it a one-score game by the break.
Klarissa Cruz knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 16-10, then a steal led to an Ashton Garner basket to make it a four-point game with about 40 seconds left.
After one more defensive stop, Garner scored again with less than 10 seconds left to give the game its halftime score.
In the third, though, Frenship put the clamps down. After a steal in the backcourt and finish, Frenship forced a Permian travel in the backcourt, and that’s when the Lady Tigers’ Cassandra Awatt scored to cap the Frenship run and double up Permian on the scoreboard just more than five minutes into the third quarter.
“We kind of let it get away from us in the third quarter,” Braziel-Smith said. “Just coming out of halftime, we kind of lost focus a little bit — but they gathered themselves and got back focused.”
Out of the playoffs, Permian will play at Odessa High on Friday before closing its season at Amarillo Tascosa next Tuesday.
But, while coaching a team that suited just three seniors Tuesday night, Braziel-Smith said she saw encouraging signs for the future in how the Lady Panthers went toe-to-toe late with one of the district’s top teams.
“They just battled,” Braziel-Smith said. “I told them, for the rest of the season, just give 110 percent.
“Hard work,” she added, on what she wants to see from her players during the last two games of the season. “Finish with a fight. Don’t just give up and let up. Leave it all on the floor.”
WOLFFORTH FRENSHIP (25-7 overall, 7-1 District 2-6A)
Cassandra Awatt 7 2-3 16, Addison Wilson 6 1-2 13, Maci Maddox 4 0-0 9, Katelin Heise 3 0-0 6, Abre Godfrey 3 0-3 6, Ashton Beeles 1 2-2 4, Leandra Sepeda 0 0-0 0, Airron Gaydon 0 0-0 0, Diamond Washington 0 0-0 0, Haleigh Elliott 0 0-0 0, Riley Roberts 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 5-10 54.
PERMIAN (11-15, 1-7)
Ashton Garner 7 3-6 20, Klarissa Cruz 3 6-8 13, Lex Contee 4 1-4 9, Jasmin Gadson 1 0-0 3, Natalie Baeza 0 0-0 0, Tay Arnendariz 0 0-0 0, Rosie Crawford 0 0-0 0, Reyna Rayos 0 0-1 0. Totals 15 10-19 45.
Wolfforth Frenship… 6.. 10 25 13 — 54
Permian……………….. 2.. 14 10 21 — 45
3-Point goals — Wolfforth Frenship 1 (Maci Maddox 1), Permian 2 (Klarissa Cruz 1, Jasmin Gadson 1. Total fouls — Wolfforth Frenship 20, Permian 13. Fouled out — None. Technical fouls — None.
Team W L W L
x-Amarillo Tascosa……… 20 10 7 1
x-Wolfforth Frenship……… 25 7 7 1
x-Midland High……………. 21 12 5 3
x-Midland Lee…………….. 15 15 4 4
Permian……………………… 11 15 1 7
Odessa High………………… 5 22 0 8
x-clinched playoff berth
Tuesday, Jan. 30
Midland Lee 43, Odessa High 18
Wolfforth Frenship 54, Permian 45
Amarillo Tascosa 67, Midland High 57
Friday, Feb. 2
Permian at Odessa High, 6 p.m.
Midland Lee at Midland High, 6 p.m.
Amarillo Tascosa at Wolfforth Frenship, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Permian at Amarillo Tascosa, 6 p.m.
Midland High at Odessa High, 6 p.m.
Wolfforth Frenship at Midland Lee, 6 p.m.
END OF REGULAR SEASON