The Van Alstyne fall basketball league continued its run at the middle school and the Lady Panthers had the opening game against Bland on Sept. 23.
Van Alstyne held the visitors to just seven second-half points on the way to a 33-26 win.
Jayden Howell and Ashley Burts got Van Alstyne off to a good start in the game. Burts took a feed from Maddie Horn as she drove the lane, and her layup made it a 4-0 game.
After Bland had rebounded from a slow start to pull to within one, Howell drained a three-ball from the right side of the arc. Following an Andrea Espitia runner, Burts banked home a shot to extend the Van Alstyne lead to five.
Bland made a late comeback, and a 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the visitors a 19-17 halftime lead.
Bland extended that lead to six before the Lady Panthers began to play better on the defensive end of the court. A baseline drive by Howell, then baskets by Horn and Burts closed the gap to just one point.
Horn sank a free throw —in Fall ball that counts for two — giving the Lady Panthers a lead they never relinquished.
Allison Hensley put back an offensive rebound then made a free throw to close out the game.