A slow start offensively and troubles at the free throw line handicapped the Lady Panthers on Monday night as they dropped a 31-29 decision to Bland in Leonard Summer League play.
Things looked promising from the jump as Emma Moreno nailed a shot from just inside the arc to get Van Alstyne off to a 2-0 start. That would be just one of the five buckets scored by the Lady Panthers in the first 20 minutes of play.
Keyed by nice defensive play by Van Alstyne’s Molly Mayes, Bland was doing no better on its offensive end. Mayes blocked three shots in the first six minutes of play, one of which the referees missed completely. Mayes also tipped away an inside pass at the Bland end to spoil an easy look for the Lady Tigers.
Leading 10-9 at the break, Van Alstyne’s offense picked up in the second half.
Allison Hensley knocked down a shot from just inside the free throw line to get the scoring started, then added another bucket as the Lady Panthers bumped the lead to six.
After a shot from the right side by Raigan Servati, Bailey Allen scored on a nice catch-and-shoot move just outside the paint.
Bland picked up the tempo with its offense in the second half as well, and with just over four minutes left the Lady Tigers tied the game at 23-23.
Maddie Horn banked in a shot to put the Lady Panthers back on top, but Bland would not go away. After the Lady Tigers had taken a three-point lead, Jayden Howell sent in a corner three to deadlock the score once again.
The Van Alstyne defense was getting stops but couldn’t connect from the charity stripe, and Bland came away with the win.
Play continues next week with Monday games against Bells and Whitewright.