PILOT POINT — Pilot Point coach Jeff Price is impressed with the way his team has battled back into games as of late. But he noted a lot of that is because the Bearcats put themselves in too many early holes.
That’s what happened on Tuesday as District 12-2A foe Van Alstyne jumped out to an early double-digit lead and was able to fend off a late Pilot Point rally for the 58-48 win.
The Bearcats (11-11, 2-3 district) went on a 10-4 run to open the fourth quarter, which cut the Van Alstyne lead to one point with 2:44 left. But the Panthers (19-2, 4-1) scored 10 of the game’s final 11 points, dealing Pilot Point its fourth straight loss.
“We are 2-3 [in district] and still in the hunt, but we have got to go back to work,” Price said. “I’m proud of how the kids battle to give us a chance to win, but it all comes down to slow starts and giving up 10-point leads to start a game against teams like that [Van Alstyne] is going to be hard to overcome in any situation.”
Van Alstyne had eight players score and was led by Jared McMakin and Collin McCaskill, who each finished with 10 points. Zack Davis and Bailey Thorpe added nine points apiece. The Panthers finished with eight 3-pointers, six in the first half as they led by 10 after the first quarter.
Van Alstyne’s precision shooting still had them ahead 24-14 midway through the second quarter, but Pilot Point closed the gap when Jalyn Marick hit a 3-pointer to spur a 10-1 run. Randy Peggs capped the surge with a floater at the halftime buzzer to knot the game at 26.
The lead changed hands four times in the third quarter as the Bearcats built as much as a three-point lead. But McCaskill hit a 3-pointer with 4:37 left in the frame to put Van Alstyne back up by three, then added another bucket as part of a 9-3 run to give his team a 44-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Pilot Point managed to tie the game again at 46 with 3:30 left but never regained the lead. Josh Wardle led the Bearcats with 12 points.
“We get to those last two or three minutes and it seems like we’re always chasing,” Price said. “We’ve got to get out of the gates quicker to give ourselves a chance.”
Pilot Point 43, Van Alstyne 24
Pilot Point took a big step toward reversing its fortune in District 12-2A on Tuesday with a win over Van Alstyne to kick off the second half of the district schedule.
Allison Ray scored 16 points to lead the Lady Cats, who had just one district win coming in. Pilot Point (7-15, 2-5 in district) got another 10 points from Monica Kinzie and held Van Alstyne to five or less points in each of the first three quarters.
“We came out with much better intensity and that 10-0 run to start the game set the tone for us,” Pilot Point coach Todd Bramlett said. “We’ve talked about it and making playoffs is still very much there for us. We control our own destiny if we keep playing like we did tonight.”
The Lady Panthers (11-13, 2-5) beat Pilot Point in the district opener but didn’t look like the same team on Tuesday as they turned the ball over five times in the first 5:45 of the game as the Lady Cats raced out to a 10-0 lead.
Leading 15-10 in the second quarter, the Lady Bearcats went on another 13-0 run that bled into the third quarter. The surge gave them a 19-point lead going into the final eight minutes.
Van Alstyne 58, Pilot Point 48
Pilot Point (11-11, 2-3) — Cory Powell 10, Randy Peggs 8, Stephen Richter 5, Jalyn Marick 8, Josh Wardle 12, Jamaal Anderson 4, Dacoven Bailey 1.
Van Alstyne (19-2, 4-1) — Jared McMakin 10, Zack Davis 9, Jake Hillebrenner 5, Harrison Awe 5, Isaiah Boling 5, Seth Caraway 5, Bailey Thorpe 9, Collin McCaskill 10.
Pilot Point 43, Van Alstyne 24
Pilot Point (7-15, 2-5) — Abby Switzer 6, Natalie Larson 3, Hydeia Chancellor 3, Allison Ray 16, Lexi Polk 4, Monica Kinzie 10, Hannah Sullivan 1.
Van Alstyne (11-13, 2-5) — Maddie Horn 8, Allison Hensley 8, Molly Mayes 2, Raigan Servati 1, Bailey Allen 2, Hannah Smith 3.