Basketball: Paradise, Boyd gear up for district

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, December 9, 2017
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The Paradise Lady Panthers and Boyd Lady Jackets will begin District 8-3A play next week after nearly polar opposite starts to the season.

The Lady Panthers have gone 8-5 in their first 13 games and have won six of their last seven contests. Meanwhile, the Lady Jackets have struggled out of the gate, going 2-7 in the first month of play.

Paradise takes on 10-1 Nocona Tuesday, while Boyd will square off with Bowie.

Through the first nine games of the season, the Lady Jackets have had issues staying out of foul trouble and know they must cut down on mistakes if they hope to be competitive in district.

“A key is going to be not turning the ball over and not being our own worst enemy,” said Boyd coach Erica Warner. “So far this season we’ve played well. We just haven’t put a full four quarters together. We just have to get over that hump and have to be able to put people away.”

Boyd sophomore guard Paytin Bullard is the motor behind the Lady Jackets’ offense, averaging nearly 15 points per game. Along with being the main distributor, Bullard is also Boyd’s most reliable scorer. Warner has to balance how much she wants Bullard to look to score and set her teammates up.

“I try to let her find the happy medium,” Warner said. “If she’s having a cold night then she has to get everybody else involved and get the ball and distribute it to those who are hot. But if she has the hot hand, I’m going to let her continue with the hot hand.”

The Lady Panthers have already gotten off to a fast start, and will now look to continue that momentum in district play.

Although Paradise is literally short in the height department, they have made up for it with speed, quickness and a lethal backcourt.

Behind junior point guard Maddie Mitschke, the Lady Panthers push the tempo, always looking to get out and run in transition.

“We’re a team that’s not very big,” said Paradise coach Chad Woodard. “We have to use our quickness. Having a couple guards who can push the ball and see the floor [is key].”

In his second season with the Lady Panthers, Woodard has converted Paradise from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man. Woodard’s reasoning behind the switch was to take advantage of his team’s quickness since they are undersized.

At times, the man-to-man has given Paradise trouble, especially against teams that have a big frontcourt. While Woodard admitted he isn’t opposed to throwing in wrinkles to his defense, he said man-to-man is his preference.

“There’s been a couple of games this year it’s hurt us because we’ve played a [tall girl],” Woodard said. “But most of the games, we’ve been in it because of our defense. We’ve had a couple of games where a big girl has eventually got to us and I do revert back to a 2-3. There’s still a comfort level with them that we can still run it and be successful at it.”

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