DALLAS — The Midway Pantherettes looked like they just might be headed back to the girls’ state basketball tournament for more than 18 minutes of their Class 6A Region II final against Dekaney.
Midway held a 13-point lead early in the third quarter, but saw it slip away as the third-ranked Lady Wildcats found their shooting touch on the way to a 62-55 victory on Saturday afternoon at Davis Field House.
Dekaney guard Jaelyn Richard-Harris, who scored a game-high 23 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers to ignite Dekaney (34-2) in the third quarter. The Lady Wildcats used a 17-2 run to steal control of the momentum from the Pantherettes.
Midway led from early in the fourth quarter until Dekaney forward Makeedah Collins hit a 3-pointer from the left side on an assist from forward Keishawna Scott. Collins’ trey put the Lady Wildcats in front, 39-37, with 1:49 left in the third quarter.
Pantherettes guard JaNaiya Davis hit a pair of free throws and scored on an assist from post Marie Benson to give Midway the lead back, 41-39, with a minute remaining in the third.
However, Dekaney responded with a 14-2 run that gave the Lady Wildcats a 10-point lead with 5:23 to go in the fourth quarter.
“In the first half we did everything that we were supposed to do, just keep slowing the game down and keeping the ball out of (Richard-Harris’s) hands,” Midway coach Teresa Durham said. “We just made some mistakes and missed some shots in the second half.”
Midway guard Reggie Allen hit three free throws to cut Dekaney’s lead to six with 1:07 left, but the Pantherettes couldn’t get any closer.
Guard Barbara Benson scored 20 points to lead the Pantherettes and Davis added 14.
Midway finished the season with a 28-7 record and reached the regional final round of the playoffs for the first time since the Pantherettes won the 4A state championship in 2009.
Midway began the second quarter on a 6-0 run and pushed ahead, 24-10, when guard Chalendria Williams made a pair of free throws with 7:11 left before halftime.
Richard-Harris began to get hot for Dekaney, but Midway still fended off the Lady Wildcats before halftime.
Barbara Benson hit a trey that put the Pantherettes in front 29-20 with 1:14 left in the second quarter and Midway took that lead to the break.
Only four players scored for Dekaney, but three of them scored in double digits as post Tatyana Hill added 18 and guard Kene Hamilton had 16 to join Rchard-Harris.