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Finishing touch: Lady Panthers close strong, top Plano to stay unbeaten in 6-6A



PLANO, TX – In both meetings last season, Plano East’s girls basketball team held halftime leads on state-ranked Plano only to watch the Lady Wildcats control the final two quarters en route to a pair of victories.

The Lady Panthers had a narrow edge midway through Tuesday’s first meeting of the season between the city rivals, 19-18, but with Plano on a roll after a commanding end to the second quarter.

East penned a different script in the second half, riding a familiar formula of defense and rebounding to snap a three-game skid against the Lady Wildcats following a 41-37 victory that kept the Lady Panthers unbeaten in District 6-6A at 5-0.

“This is huge. Plano has been such a mental jump for these kids. They had never beat them and Plano, at least to me, is kind of the darling of the district,” said Jessica Linson, East head coach. “It’s a huge jump for our kids’ confidence and I’m so proud of them.”

As Linson’s Lady Panthers continue to grow — four of East’s five starters been played major minutes at the varsity level since they were freshmen — Tuesday’s win was a pivotal step in that development. After being felled by the Lady Wildcats down the stretch in previous head-to-head matchups, East closed strong after a fourth-quarter salvo by Plano trimmed the Lady Panther lead to 34-31 with 4:45 to play.

The Lady Wildcats went to work inside with a post-up that junior Josie Bruder turned into a short basket and sophomore Salese Blow finished a crafty layup in transition moments later for a surge that brought the Plano bench to life and made Tuesday’s contest a one-score game.

East responded with a 7-2 run, creating some opportune looks of its own in the paint. Junior Donavia Hall assisted junior Ada Anamekwe for a bucket inside and junior Savannah Adjetey beat Plano off the dribble from the top of the key for a finish, plus a foul, that put the Lady Panthers back in control, 38-31.