A tale of two halves: Boyd surrenders lead, falls to Plano
PLANO -- The McKinney Boyd girls basketball team gave Plano Senior all it could handle in the first half of its Tuesday night game. The Lady Wildcats, though, would quickly do the same, turning the table on their district rival in the second half, on the way to a 67-43 victory from Plano High School.
"That's the tale of our season right now," said Rochelle Vaughn, Boyd head coach. "We have not figured out a way to play four entire quarters at one time. We played a great first half, had the lead, then we came out in the third and let Plano get a quick 6-0 run against us and our body language completely changed and it snowballed from there."
Boyd (9-14, 0-2) led Plano (18-6, 2-0) by a score of 20-19 at the half before the Lady Wildcats promptly turned things around.
"It was hard-fought as Boyd gave us a game in the first half," said Lynn Meger, Plano head coach. "It scared us a little. They're very disciplined. They have some great aggressive, physical players who made things tough on us. In the second half we kind of woke up."
Leading the way for the Lady Wildcats was Wilma Afunugo with 22 points, followed by Grace Mitchell with 14 and Haley Wray with 10.
"I told them to be patient," Meger said. "The difference in the second half was really due to two players, Haley and Wilma. Haley didn't have any turnovers in the second half and Wilma also had a strong, dominant second half, which helped us. They were key to our turnaround."
Meger was also impressed by the play from Mitchell.
"Our offense is pretty much ignited by our defense," she said. "Grace Mitchell did a great job of putting the pressure on the ball, which made things easier on the offensive end. That was pretty big."
Julia Hendrieth had a team-high 15 points for the Lady Broncos, while JJ Brightwell contributed with 10 and Haley Carruthers scored nine.
"Julia didn't start tonight," Vaughn said. "She was sick, but came in and gave us great effort off the bench and provided us with a spark. And Haley is always consistent for what she provides for us as far as leadership on the court and JJ is getting better every game."
The trio was instrumental in the Lady Broncos' strong first half, which saw them give the Lady Wildcats, one of the District 10-5A favorites, plenty of trouble.
"I saw a lot of great things in the first half, especially as far as our defense was concerned," Vaughn said. "We rotated pretty well, matched-up well, and executed our game plan."
Boyd may be 0-2 to start district, but Meger sees a bright future for the Lady Broncos throughout the rest of this district season.
"They controlled the tempo to start," she said. "They were out-rebounding us early. We had to overcome some adversity because we haven't been down much at halftime. They're going to be fine in district. I think they got a good shot at making the playoffs."
The Lady Broncos, though, were unable to maintain their effective play from the first half as the Lady Wildcats outscored them 21-12 in the third quarter, something Vaughn said has been an unfortunate recurrence this season.
"For some reason, we always have one bad quarter that seems to set us back," she said. "We have to improve our effort and consistency."
Plano would gain even more separation in the final frame, outscoring Boyd 27-11. At one point in the fourth quarter, Boyd committed back-to-back turnovers as Plano sank several shots from beyond the arc to further expand their lead.
"In the third quarter we made shots and that opened up a whole lot of other things for us," Meger said. "That was the biggest difference; that we settled down. And we were able to wear them down a little by the fourth quarter."
The two teams return to action Friday night when Plano travels to Plano East while Boyd hosts Allen.
While Boyd's start to its district schedule may not be what she would have liked, Vaughn is encouraged all the same by the promise she sees in the Lady Broncos' near future.
"Hopefully we can build off the first half moving forward and just keep getting better," she said. "We are slowing seeing improvement in every game. The players have to be able to see their potential and experience it themselves and they did that to start this game."