By SCOTT TYLER
H-P Sports Editor
Heading into their final district game of the season today, the Palestine Ladycats continue to hold their own playoff destiny in their hands.
Palestine, which travels to Diboll tonight, is tied for third place with Huntington.
“We still are alive for the playoffs and have a chance to take care of our own destiny,” Palestine head coach Andy Snider said. “If we take care of business, it does not matter what other teams do.”
Palestine and Huntington are tied at 9-4 in District 21-3A and trail Crockett, which is undefeated and has clinched the district title, and Diboll, which is 10-3.
While Palestine plays the second-place Diboll at approximately 6 p.m. today, Huntington will have to face Crockett.
Coming into last week, Palestine trailed Huntington by one game and both teams got wins on Tuesday with Palestine topping Rusk and Huntington upsetting Diboll. But Central came to Palestine’s aid Friday night as the Lady Bulldogs knocked off Huntington and Palestine survived a scare against Westwood.
“We have not talked much a whole lot about the playoffs, but after the Westwood game we talked a little bit because it became a point of interest,” Snider said.
Snider knows that there are still several scenarios that can take place from Tuesday night’s games. If Palestine wins, it throws the Ladycats into a tie with Diboll, but if Huntington also wins, it would become a three-way tie for second. If either Palestine and Huntington both lose Friday, a tiebreaker game would have to be played to determine who would get the final seed in the playoffs.
While going on the road may seem to give Palestine the disadvantage, Snider is not worried about a road trip.
“We have played well on the road this year and traveling puts us in a different mind set,” Snider said. “We have a good group of seniors who have good leadership skills and they have been in this position before, so they know what it is going to take.”
Palestine lost to Diboll 39-27 in the first meeting as the game turned in the third quarter when Diboll used a three-quarter court trap to outscore the Ladycats 16-7 to take the lead.
“We need to stay under control against their press,” Snider said. “We need to play our ball game instead of allowing them to dictate what we do.”
Palestine also was affected offensively by Diboll’s tall freshman post player Nikki Green. The Ladycats struggled in the paint as Green altered several of Palestine’s inside shots.
“Because we have already played them, this time the extreme intimidation factor is gone,” Snider said. “(Green) is a good player, who moves well on defense, but I do not think we are going to be as intimidated going against her.”
A concern for Snider is Palestine’s free-throw shooting woes, which hit rock bottom against Westwood as the Ladycats were 8-of-26 from the free-throw line.
“Free throws are one aspect we will be concentrating more on in practice,” Snider said. “They were rushing their free throws and not taking their time.
“Free throws are a routine where you have to do the same thing each time and against Westwood, we lost our focus at the free-throw line.”
Scott Tyler may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
By SCOTT TYLER