The last time the Pottsboro Lady Cardinals and Van Alstyne Lady Panthers met on the court back in January, the Lady Cardinals cruised to a 24-point win.

It was a much different story on Monday night in Sherman as Van Alstyne, the fourth seed from District 10-3A, pushed District 9-3A champion Pottsboro in the Lady Panthers’ 43-35 loss in a Class 3A Region II bi-district match-up.

“I thought Van Alstyne played really hard and I thought they did a great job of getting after us,” Pottsboro head coach Keith Bates said. “We did what we had to do to win but give Van Alstyne credit.”

The Lady Cardinals (30-4) will play either Dallas Madison or Alba-Golden in the area round later this week.

Pottsboro found success on the defensive end early, swarming the Lady Panthers’ attack and running off to an 11-2 lead less than five minutes into the game. After a timeout by Van Alstyne head coach Tyler Dyer, his team regrouped and cut the deficit down to five as the quarter ended.

Emma Donald scored nine points and Maegan Thomas added eight points for the Lady Panthers (18-16), who flipped the script in the second quarter as they found rhythm offensively and frustrated Pottsboro offensively with an inside-outside combo of Thomas and Torin Riddick, who chipped in six points. Both led the Lady Panthers with six points a piece at halftime.

As for Pottsboro, the Lady Cardinals were able to grind through a slow offensive night thanks to senior Pyper James. James led the Cardinals with nine points in the first half as both teams entered the locker room tied at 19.

“She has improved a lot from last year,” Williams said about James. “She’s become a different player for us this season and has really stepped up for our team.”

The intensity of the first half did not let up, but the Lady Cardinals were able to take push the lead back up to six with Haiden Williams leading the way. James and Williams, both seniors, each finished with 13 points on the night.

The Lady Panthers, however, had foul trouble catch up to them. Down six with less than three minutes remaining. Thomas ended up fouling out of the game. Shortly after that, the Lady Panthers were called for an intentional foul and Dyer was assessed technical foul in the same sequence.

Haiden Williams and her sister Hadley started knocking down their free throws, finishing 10-of-13 from the foul line in the fourth quarter between the two of them. The Lady Cardinals pushed the lead to 11 and were able to put the game away.

“We had to pick up the intensity after we got off to a great start,” Haiden Williams said. “We play really well together and we definitely picked things up when we needed it.”

“We’ve been in this situation before,” Bates said. We just needed to clean up some things and do them right. I thought we would be fine.”