GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Midland Lee holds off Odessa High late

MIDLAND Like the first time these two teams played, Odessa High and Midland Lee were locked in a low-scoring battle.

And like the last matchup, it was the Lady Rebels who held on late, defeating Odessa High in a 39-31 victory Friday night at the Lee High School gym. 

“We just had too many turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds tonight,” Odessa High head coach Olivia Pyburn said. “The one thing I told my girls in the locker room is that we battled. We just didn’t close it out.”

The win gives Midland Lee (17-14 overall, 4-3 district) a two-game lead for third place over Odessa High (17-13, 2-5) and Midland High, who sit tied for fourth place with three games left in the regular season.

“It’s a spot where we want to be right now, but we’re not content,” Midland Lee head coach Alfred Acosta said. “We have a couple of hungry teams right behind us and we have to be ready the rest of the way.”

Friday’s game was about winning the battle inside.

Forward Paige Low finished with a game-high 18 points for Midland Lee while Skylar Herrera led Odessa High with 14.

The game got off to a quick start for Midland Lee, scoring the game’s first five points off baskets from Low and Destiny Stanford, who finished with nine points.

The Lady Bronchos were able to answer, tying up the game twice in the first quarter including a free throw from Nesha Stephens to tie the game at 10 after the first eight minutes.

The second quarter saw the pace slow down significantly but the Lady Bronchos took their first lead of the game with 4:03 left in the half off a basket from Herrera.

Midland Lee quickly retook the lead off a layup from Braydyn Hill and would lead 17-16 at halftime.

The Lady Rebels would jump out to another fast start in the second half, scoring five points within the first minute off a Myleah Young 3-pointer and another Low layup.

The Lady Bronchos closed the gap quickly with two baskets from Herrera as part of a 6-2 run to get back to 24-22.

However, Midland Lee was able to push the lead back up to five to close the quarter.

The fourth quarter saw Odessa High close the deficit to three points twice with Herrera baskets but that’s where Lee locked in defensively, forcing a number of turnovers and keeping the ball away from the Lady Bronchos.

The final Odessa High field goal came off a Stephens 3-pointer to make it 35-31 with 2:23 left.

From there, the Lady Rebels closed out the game by keeping possession for the majority of the final two minutes.

Stanford hit four free throws during that stretch to seal the win late for Midland Lee.

 “The biggest thing with us is that we needed to get stops,” Acosta said. “We did a pretty good job of coming up with those stops late.”

As for Odessa High, the Lady Bronchos will look to close out the final three games strong, starting Tuesday at home against Permian.

“We have to stop giving our games away,” Pyburn said. “We just had too many turnovers at crucial times tonight.

“That said, I told our team that we were still in the playoff race. We just have to keep fighting.”

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