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Lady Panthers looking to return to the playoffs
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Going into District 15-4A competition, the Mabank Lady Panthers have seen some ups and downs under new coach Cody Christenberry.
Because the Lady Panthers were so young last year, Christenberry has all five starters back from a team that grabbed the third-place berth in last year’s 3A district.
This year, the Lady Panthers are in a 4A district, so almost no one expects them to compete, much less secure a playoff berth – no one except Christenberry and the girls themselves.
Five seniors are among the 12 players on the roster this year, led by point guard and sparkplug Chelsey Dillon.
Other starters returning are senior post Lauren Hamilton, junior wings Ashley Hammack and Jeanice Mojica, and sophomore guard Sara Springer.
Mojica, like Springer, started as a freshman after being moved up from the junior varsity late in the season (Springer moved up early last year following serious injuries to now-departed guards Miranda Groom and Kelsi Reynolds).
Mojica has occasionally put up some big numbers (31 points in the season opener), while Dillon has been the Lady Panthers’ most consistent scorer, racking up 14 points or more in seven of the nine games she has played.
After missing the season opener to run in the state cross country meet, Dillon has also shown herself to be a lock-down defender, forcing numerous turnovers through the Lady Panthers’ trapping defense.
“Chelsey is the leader of this team,” Christenberry said. “When they (with Mojica) are both on their game together, we ought to be pretty tough.”
Springer has also shown an outside scoring touch, hitting a trio of 3-point baskets against both Palmer and Wills Point, but overall, the Lady Panther shooting has been “streaky,” Christenberry said.
Consistency has been a problem early in the season, as the Lady Panthers have looked great at times, and have lost focus at times.
“We’re starting to jell. We’ve been playing a lot better over the last week and a half,” he said. “(Jeanice) has been down with an ankle (injury), and she’s just now coming back.”
Senior Whitney Cathey is the other returning letterman. She is joined by seniors Sarah Gilbert and Lynnsie Sims, along with junior Chelsea Alldredge, and a trio of freshmen, Ashton Norman, Cheyenne Alldredge and Olivia Pannell.
Norman has been a pleasant surprise, Christenberry said.
“She has not been intimidated, like a typical freshman,” he said. “She’s been playing good defense.”
Christenberry (who came to Mabank from Rockwall) runs a different system than David Brown, who left coaching to become an assistant principal last year, but there are some similarities to Brown’s system.
“There’s been a little adjustment,” Christenberry said. “I think we’re running the ball a lot more than they did last year.”
The Lady Panthers will open District 15-4A play at home against Lancaster’s Lady Tigers Tuesday, Dec. 16.
“West Mesquite has been picked by everybody to be the favorite,” Christenberry said. “They’ve been a consistent winner at the 4A level for quite a while.”
The Lady Wranglers are led by a Division I recruit at point guard, he added.
“Lancaster has been a winner in the past, and (Mesquite) Poteet usually plays people pretty tough,” he said. “They’ll all be athletic.”
Christenberry said he coached Forney’s players in junior high during a stint there, but added he didn’t know much about either Terrell or Red Oak.
“There’s not going to be any ‘gimme’ games,” he said. “I have not seen where we’re picked to do anything, but I expect better.”

Panthers crush Rains again, 79-40
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–A second-quarter run powered the Mabank Panthers past the visiting Rains Wildcats Tuesday.
Monday, Dec. 15, the Panthers will host the Wills Point Tigers, with a 4:30 p.m. sub-varsity game opening the evening’s slate.
Next weekend, Dec. 18-20, Mabank’s boys will play in the annual Sabine basketball tournament before taking a Christmas break.
The Panthers will return to action at the annual Wagstaff Holiday Classic at Tyler Junior College Dec. 29-31.
Mabank will open District 15-4A play at home against Terrell Tuesday, Jan. 6.
At home against Rains Tuesday, the Panthers didn’t shoot well, perhaps recalling their Nov. 25 meeting with the Wildcats, which resulted in a 105-37 blowout.
Rains stayed close in the first quarter, which ended with Mabank ahead 14-7, but the bigger and quicker Panthers began beating the Wildcats down the floor on each possession during the second quarter and started pulling away.
A 24-13 scoring edge in the second quarter gave the Panthers an 18-point halftime lead, 38-20, and a 21-8 run in the third quarter gave Mabank a commanding 59-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Jacob Woodard keyed the second-quarter run, hitting four 3-point baskets en route to scoring 14 of his 17 points in the period.
Kolton Browning led all scorers with 20 points (including two treys) in three quarters, while Trevor Peele added 13 points, all in the second half, and Griffin Marshall had 11 points, all in the second and third quarters.
Cameron Tucker and Tray Phillips both scored four points each, while Micky Pycha and Scott Hall had three points each. T.J. Dally and Tyler Fisher added two points each.
Cameron Hoover was the only Wildcat two score in double figures with 10 points.

KHS girls stop Malakoff, 48-33
Monitor Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–Kemp’s Lady Yellowjackets pulled away in the second half Tuesday, defeating the hosting Malakoff Lady Tigers 48-33.
Now 5-6 on the season, the Lady Yellowjackets were scheduled to play in the Edgewood Invitational basketball tournament this weekend.
Tuesday, the Lady ’Jackets return home to host Italy, opening with a 5 p.m. sub-varsity game, and Friday, Dec. 19, Kemp will host the Lindale Lady Eagles, again opening at 5 p.m.
Following the Christmas break, Kemp’s girls will play in the Kaufman Holiday Classic tournament Dec. 29-31, and will host Palestine Westwood in their final non-district game Tuesday, Jan. 6.
The Lady ’Jackets will open District 14-3A play on the road against Van Friday, Jan. 9.
At Malakoff Tuesday night, the Lady ’Jackets started slow, but picked up in the second quarter when their outside shots began falling.
The Lady ’Jackets outscored the Lady Tigers 12-4 in the second quarter to take a four-point halftime lead, 21-17.
In the second half, the Lady ’Jackets held the Lady Tigers to 16 points.
Michelle Ritterbach hit an NBA 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Kemp a 13-point lead, 38-25, going into the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Kemp outscored Malakoff 10-8 to forge the final 15-point margin.
Ritterbach led the Lady ’Jackets with 13 points (including three treys) and four steals, while Shelbie Wright added 10 points and both Chelsey Mulvaney and Shannon Shipp (nine rebounds) scored eight points each.
Meagan Lacy had a strong all-around game, scoring six points, grabbing six rebounds and four steals, as well as blocking three shots, while Amanda Lawrence scored two points and grabbed three steals, with Brittany Simmons adding a free throw.
The Lady ’Jackets also notched one win at the Scurry-Rosser tournament last weekend, beating the Rockwall junior varsity 34-28.
Kemp outscored Rockwall 15-8 in the fourth quarter to break open a one-point contest.
Lacy and Brandy Simmons scored eight points each to lead the Lady ’Jackets.
Ritterbach finished with seven points, while Wright had four, both Brittany Simmons and Lawrence scored three points and Shipp added a free throw.
Lawrence also had three steals, while Shipp added nine rebounds.


Upcoming games

Girls Basketball

Dec. 16
MHS vs Lancaster*
KHS vs Italy
EHS @ Cross Roads

Dec. 18
EHS @ Grand Saline

Dec. 19
MHS @ West Mesquite*
KHS vs Lindale

Dec. 29-31
MHS @ Kaufman tourn.
KHS @ Kaufman tourn.
EHS @ Brownsboro

Jan. 6
MHS @ Terrell*

Jan. 9
MHS vs Red Oak*
KHS @ Van*
EHS @ Mineola*
*district contest

Boys Basketball

Dec. 15
MHS vs Wills Point

Dec. 16
EHS vs Grand Saline

Dec. 18-20
MHS @ Sabine tourn.
EHS @ Grand Saline tourn.

Dec. 19
KHS @ Fairfield

Dec. 22
EHS vs Athens

Dec. 29-31
MHS @ Wagstaff Classic
(Tyler Junior College)
KHS @ Kaufman Tourney

Dec. 30
EHS @ Grand Saline


Jan. 2
MHS g @ Greenville
EHS b/g vs Ferris

Jan. 6
MHS g vs Ennis
EHS b/g @ Kaufman

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