GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Odessa High pulls off crucial win over Midland High in thriller

MIDLAND There was plenty at stake for the Odessa High and Midland High girls basketball teams Friday, including but not limited to a third district win and the chance to keep their playoff dreams alive.

And with the game on the line, Odessa High head coach Olivia Pyburn put the ball in the hands of the team captain and senior leader.

A Skylar Herrera jumper with 11 seconds remaining to play was the difference as the Lady Bronchos held on for a 30-28 victory against the Lady Dawgs at Midland High.

Herrera led Odessa High with a game-high 14 points.

“I knew we had to get the ball to Skylar somehow and I just saw a mismatch where we had the chance to take advantage,” Pyburn said on the final play. “I just told our team that we had to be patient and to stay poised.

“Once she went up for the shot, I knew we were going to be okay once the ball went in.”

“We all knew we had to keep our heads in the game and be smart with the ball,” Herrera said. “There was no name for the play that was drawn up. We just knew we had to execute and score so we could get back and make one more stop on defense.”

Friday’s win combined with Permian’s loss to Wolfforth Frenship puts the Lady Bronchos in position to potentially clinch a playoff berth with a win Tuesday night at Amarillo Tascosa or a Midland High win over the Lady Panthers.

Midland High was eliminated from postseason contention after Odessa High completed the season sweep.

It was a tense, physical battle that got off to a slow start offensively.

Herrera made her first shot 1:18 into the game but that would be one of only three field goals made in the quarter as Odessa High led 6-3 after the first eight minutes.

A Roxana Jimenez layup opened the scoring in the second quarter before the Lady Dawgs went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the night.

Jimenez finished with 10 points for Odessa High while Sadie Govan led Midland High with eight.

After the Lady Dawgs gained the lead, Odessa High went on its own 6-0 run to take the lead back with baskets from Herrera and Kazyiah Hicks.

Jimenez would score the last five points of the half as the Lady Bronchos held on to a 19-15 lead at halftime.

Odessa High would come out strong to start the second half, pushing the lead to as many as nine points at 25-16 midway through the third quarter.

Midland High would not go away as it closed on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit back to 27-24 entering the fourth quarter.

The final eight minutes turned into waiting for that right opportunity to make that big shot.

A Rushton layup and two Govan free throws would tie the game at 28 with 3:48 to go, but after that neither team could get the ball in the basket and it was Herrera’s jumper that put the Lady Bronchos over the top for the win.

The Lady Bronchos are now on the doorstep of the team’s first playoff berth in 14 seasons and while they will enjoy the win, Pyburn knows that there is still work to be done.

“We’ve been through a lot this season,” an emotional Pyburn said after the win. “These girls have worked so hard since October and we’ve been fighting all the way this season.

“We’re not in the playoffs but we’re still in it.”

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