A close game is nothing new to the Odessa High girls basketball team.
Tuesday night was no exception.
This time around, the Lady Bronchos finished on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
Midland Lee made two baskets in the final 9.5 seconds as the Lady Rebels defeated Odessa High 39-36 at the OHS Fieldhouse.
It was the sixth game out of the last seven decided by five points or less for the Lady Bronchos.
“We kept fighting until the very end tonight,” Odessa High head coach Olivia Pyburn said. “I’m proud of our girls for that. We just had one or two mistakes that hurt us down the stretch that ended up hurting us.”
Odessa High held a 36-35 lead with 25.9 seconds left after Roxana Jimenez made one of two free throws.
Out of a timeout, the Lady Rebels (15-11, 2-0) were able to drive the ball to the basket and after a scramble and a missed layup, Loredana Fouonji was there for the putback to give Midland Lee the lead with 9.5 seconds remaining.
Fouonji finished with 10 points, eight coming in the final quarter.
Destiny Stanford got Midland Lee an insurance basket after stealing the ball and making a layup with 2.9 seconds to go, and the Lady Rebels were able to hold on for the win.
“I give a lot of credit to Odessa High because they were ready to play tonight,” Midland Lee head coach Alfred Acosta said. “In games like this, it’s about taking advantage of your opportunities and tonight we were able to do that.”
The opportunities were there Tuesday night, but they were stifled thanks to strong defense throughout the game.
After Jimenez made the opening basket for Odessa High, Midland Lee found its chances down in the post with Paige Low.
Low finished with a team-high 13 points, 11 coming in the first half.
The Lady Rebels led 13-7 after one quarter but Odessa High (15-10, 0-2) would stay right in the game thanks to a stout 2-3 zone defense and a strong effort from senior forward Alexis Luna.
Luna finished with seven points but added 15 rebounds and four steals on the night.
The Lady Bronchos held Lee to just six second quarter points but still trailed 19-14 at halftime.
“We stayed true to our defense tonight,” Pyburn said. “Our girls have really bought into the zone and they take a lot of pride in that.”
The third quarter continued to be a defensive struggle before senior guard Abigail Rodriguez started finding her shot for Odessa High.
Rodriguez hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, including two within the last minute to give the Lady Bronchos a 26-24 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
She finished with a game-high 14 points.
The final quarter saw the lead change three times in the last two minutes, but it was Midland Lee who was able to prevail in the end.
It was a game that Odessa High thought it had.
Now facing an 0-2 start in district play, the Lady Bronchos look to regroup against Midland High Friday night.
“We’ve been in these positions before,” Pyburn said. “We’re not out of it at all and we just have to keep competing and pushing forward.”
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