Written by SportsDayDFW.com
West Mesquite comeback falls short as Highland Park girls hold on for 65-54 victory
UNIVERSITY PARK — In a showdown between District 10-4A leaders Thursday night, Highland Park survived a fourth-quarter rally by West Mesquite in a 65-54 victory.
Highland Park made 16 of its first 18 shots, nearly all layups off crisp passing, and led by 24 points late in the second quarter before West Mesquite began chipping away.
Ranked No. 3 in SportsDay’s area 4A rankings, Highland Park (16-5, 4-0) got its final seven points from 5-8 senior point guard Kaitlyn Read.
Ranked No. 4, West Mesquite (17-7, 3-1) trailed 56-51 with 3:28 left when Alexus Bertrand connected on two free throws after making a steal.
Read gave Highland Park a 59-51 lead with a 3-point play after driving to the basket. Read scored 18 points, and until the final minutes, had largely guided Highland Park’s effort to break West Mesquite’s pressuring defense.
“Our big kids ran the floor well to get us off to a good start,” Highland Park coach Amy Matlock said. “We tried to stay away from dribbling. That’s usually where they get you. You don’t expect to jump out that way, but the players were prepared and focused.”
Third-year West Mesquite coach Darrin Samuels said he’s got a young roster that he hopes learns from the first loss in a difficult district schedule.
“We’ve got a lot of young people, we’ve got four freshmen, learning how to play,” Samuels said. “I never felt like we were out of it. But you have to use a lot of timeouts when you fall behind so quickly that you don’t have them at the end when you make a run.
“Still, if we make a couple layups and hit some free throws at the end, we could have been in position to win.”
West Mesquite senior Claudia Price had eight of her 20 points to lead the fourth quarter rally along with seven from freshman Alexis Jordan (11 points.)
Highland Park built its lead with junior Alex Reynolds getting 13 first-half points. Junior Katie Thiebaud had nine of her 13 points in the first half. Read, a district offensive MVP last year, scored 14 points in the second half.