Second-half comeback: McKinney girls top Lewisville on the road
The McKinney girls basketball team overcame a slow start to beat Lewisville, 58-51, Monday night on the road.
"We didn't play very well in the first half, but we played a great second half," said Debbie Harris, McKinney girls head coach. "It was a good win for us. [Junior guard] Mariah Mitchell did a great job of attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line and [junior forward] Jazsmin Nelson had some quality possessions for us in the post and [senior guard] Nicole Quincy hit some big shots."
Mitchell led the way with 26 points, followed by Quincy's 14 and Nelson's 11. Although they would finish strong, the Lionettes' start to the game wasn't as cohesive. McKinney's first half play was marked by various pitfalls.
"We turned the ball over too much, missed too many free throws and gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first half," Harris said. "We're still struggling to find our identity in those areas. We sometimes force things that aren't there, but we're learning."
Even with their mistakes, McKinney (5-5) did its best to keep it close, limiting Lewisville's halftime lead to 29-25.
While the Lionettes' first half may have been rough at times, Harris couldn't have been prouder of them in the second half.
"I thought we were a lot more aggressive on both ends of the ball," she said. "Our defense was especially more aggressive and we had a lot more confidence and we attacked the basket with more confidence."
While Harris is glad her team showed the character they needed to win, she knows what's better than coming from behind is never giving up a lead to begin with.
"We're very resilient," she said, 'but we have to do a better job of not putting ourselves in that hole, so that we don't have to worry about coming from behind."
The Lionettes battled through a tough first week of the season, but have since been on a hot streak, winning four of their last five, with wins against Irving, Lovejoy, Ursuline and now Lewisville. McKinney's only misstep in that stretch was a close three-point loss to John Paul II, 42-39.
"We've been in some close ballgames and we lost them because of our own mental mistakes," she said, "but the fact that we were down at the half and came back and played that great second half says a lot about our team."
Given that the season is only a few weeks old, the Lionettes are still gradually finding their groove with each passing game.
"We're starting to understand that if you don't play together as a team, you're just spinning your wheels," Harris said. "We got a lot of learning to do, but we're making progress. We need to continually get better before we start district."
McKinney gets back to action Thursday in the Collin County Roundball Classic. The Lionetts begin with a 5:30 p.m. game against Frisco Wakeland. Harris hopes her team uses the tournament as a prime opportunity to work on the areas of ball control and shot selection.
"We need to perform better with our shot selection and in handling the basketball," she said. "We got some great athletic kids on our team and we need to utilize that more."
One area that is never in doubt for the Lionettes is the camaraderie amongst the players and the close-knit connections they share.
"It's crucial, it's the best part of who we are," Harris said. "We're small in numbers, we've had a lot of injuries and because of that it limits our depth, but these girls have relationships with each other and they're there for each other and I'm proud of them for that."