GIRLS BASKETBALL: Odessa High falls to Midland Lee, eliminated from playoff contention

The Odessa High girls basketball team needed a fourth-quarter comeback to keep its playoff hopes alive Tuesday night against Midland Lee.

The Lady Bronchos didn’t get it.

Midland Lee defeated Odessa High 46-31 at the OHS Fieldhouse in District 2-6A action on Senior Night.

Midland Lee’s Braydyn Hill led all scorers with 16, followed by teammate Karysa Edwards who had 15. Kai’Naja Walton led Odessa High with 11 points.

“We had a lot of effort the first half,” Odessa High head coach Olivia Pyburn said. “In the third quarter, we came out with that same effort and we didn’t carry it over into the fourth. We were still in it, but we didn’t play like we were still in it.

“That’s one of our biggest enemies right now — when we’re down, we stay down instead of fighting through.”

The Lady Rebels started the game strong, not missing many shots and scored 20 points. Odessa High only scored half that, but it played well enough to build momentum into the second quarter to cut into Midland Lee’s lead.

Midland Lee (16-8 overall, 4-4 District 2-6A) only scored four points in the second quarter, but Odessa High started to not click offensively.

That’s not the usual spot where Odessa High falters with several potent scorers, but it failed on Tuesday when it needed it most.

The Lady Bronchos (17-12, 0-8) were only outscored in the last three quarters by five points.

“We stood around rather than playing,” Pyburn said. “We can’t depend on one or two people to get the job done; it takes all five of us. We had dead moments on offense when we didn’t need them.”

Odessa High cut Midland Lee’s lead to as low as five in the second half, but one third-quarter stretch tilted the game toward the Lady Rebels.

Hill got a steal and was able to sink a basket and draw a foul in the process. The Midland Lee guard missed the ensuing free throw, but one of her teammates was able to get the rebound and quickly find her open behind the 3-point line.

Once Hill got the ball, she didn’t hesitate and swished the shot to complete a five-point swing in her team’s favor to increase the lead permanently back to double digits.

“Bad things are going to happen, basketball is a game of runs,” Midland Lee head coach Alfred Acosta said. “We just have to withstand (Odessa High’s) runs and have more runs than they do. That’s the biggest thing — our girls responded.”

Down 12 heading into the final quarter, The Lady Bronchos needed a comeback and didn’t get it, ending their playoff hopes.

Midland High’s playoff hopes also ended Tuesday with a loss to Amarillo Tascosa, clinching the fourth and final spot for Midland Lee.

Tascosa, Midland Lee will now jockey for playoff positioning with Permian and Wolfforth Frenship in their final two District 2-6A games.

“We want to get better every game we come out here,” Acosta said. “It was another important game. You want to put yourself in a good position, that way when you get into playoffs, we’re doing good things.”

Odessa High faces crosstown rival Permian Friday.

“I just wanted us come out aggressive and ready to play,” Odessa High senior Kai’Naja Walton said about Tuesday night’s game. “I want to give it all I got the last two games and encourage my team to just to keep going, finish and push through.”

Pyburn said her team is playing for pride and to not end up with a winless district season over the next week.

“It didn’t go as planned but we got to move on and prepare for the next game,” Pyburn said. “It still doesn’t take away from the awesome season that they’re having.

“What I want to happen is us to finish strong and at least go out with a bang. Things didn’t go the way we wanted them to but we still have a chance to finish the season strong like we wanted to.”