The Van Alstyne Lady Panthers enjoyed their road trip to Starkville, Mississippi over the Christmas holidays, both on and off the court.
Well, maybe they could have done without the 11-hour long bus ride on the way down, but it was sure to be a bonding experience.
Staying on the property at Columbus Air Force base, the team won four games and got to examine firsthand the military lifestyle.
Van Alstyne 38, Oak Hill Academy 28.
No, this wasn’t the famous Oak Hill basketball factory in Virginia, just one of three Mississippi teams the Lady Panthers would face in the Columbus Christian Holiday Classic.
The Lady Panthers prevailed in the opener, 38-28 on Dec. 28.
After an 11- hour bus ride, Van Alstyne coach Tim Bryant was not sure what he would get out of his team.
“After a trip planned for nine hours turned into eleven, I wasn’t sure how we would play, but I was proud of them,” Bryant said.
Senior Madison Reno scored 10 points and sophomore BreAnna McCaskill added eight to lead the Lady Panther attack. Six of McCaskill’s points came on shots from beyond the arc. She also had two steals and a pair of assists.
Sophomore Maegan Thomas, coming off of an injury, had five points and four rebounds in the contest.
Freshman Alexia Smith, a defensive stopper for Van Alstyne, had four steals in this game and 10 in the three games played.
Sophomore Avery Duncan also had three steals.
Van Alstyne 30, Hatley 25.
On Dec. 29 the Lady Panthers jumped out to a big early lead, then held on for a 30-25 win over Hatley, Mississippi.
Reno again led the scoring, getting 11 points in the 5-point win. She also had four steals in the contest.
Sophomore Avery Duncan, held scoreless in the opener against Oak Hill, came back with a six-point outing in game two.
Freshman Alexia Smith had three points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Lady Panthers.
Sophomore Maegan Thomas had just two points, but collected five rebounds, as Van Alstyne notched its 15th win of the season.
Van Alstyne 44, Winona Christian 33.
The Lady Panthers wrapped up play in the Columbus Christian Holiday Classic with an 11-point win over Winona Christian, 44-33.
Reno had 14 points, giving her 35 for the three games, and junior Treylee Neill joined her in double-digits with 10.
Reno shot 50 percent from the field, making one 3-pointer on four attempts from beyond the arc. She also had six rebounds.
Sophomore Maegan Thomas chipped in eight points and five rebounds in Van Alstyne’s third win at the event.
Freshman Alexia Smith had four points and three steals.
Van Alstyne 56, Columbus Christian Academy 16.
The Lady Panthers treated the host team rather rudely in the final game of their Mississippi trip, beating Columbus Christian Academy 56-16 to sweep the four-game adventure.
Reno made 3- of-4, 3-point shots, was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and had six steals, leading the Lady Panthers with 17 points in the win.
Sophomore Maegan Thomas, coming back from that leg injury, scored 13 points in Van Alstyne’s 40-point win.
Junior Sydney Bruton added six points and four rebounds in the contest.
On Jan. 6 Van Alstyne will host Pottsboro, ranked ninth among Class 3-A girls’ teams by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.