Granbury High School senior Morgan Northcutt used to practice shooting free throws with her eyes closed.
She wasn’t blind Tuesday night, but almost.
She got poked in the eye but still managed to sink her last two free throws of the evening, extending her streak to 51 consecutive made.
Northcutt led the Lady Pirates with 19 points in a scrappy 55-42 win over visiting and winless Mansfield.
It was Granbury’s third straight victory after losing the first four.
“I want to be at the free throw line,” Northcutt said after the game. “I clear my mind; I don’t think about numbers. I go through the rhythm – I rely on muscle memory.”
The muscle memory helped drain her eight free throws Tuesday. She’s now 51-for-53 for a glittering 96 percent.
“That’s amazing,” Lady Pirate head coach Leta Andrews said about Northcutt’s 51 in a row, a Lady Pirate record. “We have a world-class free throw shooter,” the coach told the girls in the dressing room after the win.
Andrews preaches the importance of free throws. Her father, the late Clyde Rains, would say that free throws usually make the difference in close games.
The Lady Pirates shoot a ton of foul shots in practice – when they’re “winded,” Northcutt pointed out. They shoot more if they don’t hit at least 80 percent.
“Coach Andrews says they’re free and you gotta make them,” Northcutt said.
Another milestone was reached Tuesday with Andrews notching 1,400 wins. She already holds the title for most wins of any high school basketball coach.
Four Granbury volleyball-basketball girls debuted after a long volleyball playoff run that ended Saturday at the regional finals.
Three were ushered in midway through the first quarter – Erin Jones, Kennedy Shelstead and Amber Strange. They combined for 18 points – Shelstead and Strange with seven each and Jones with four. A fourth, Lily Thornton, also saw action in the contest.
“It’s very exciting to have more than five or six players on our team,” Andrews said. “The best is yet to come. When we all get on the same page some good things will come to the Lady Pirates.”
Junior 6-3 post Bryce Frank was a force in the middle, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Strange, a freshman, added nine boards.
Granbury never trailed in the physical match, leading 12-6 after the first quarter and 28-13 at halftime. It was 41-26 after three quarters. Mansfield outscored Granbury 16-14 in the final period, but it wasn’t enough.
Officials blew more whistles than sailors on leave at a California beach. The teams combined for 59 free throws. Granbury was 22-for-36 and Mansfield 17-for-23.
[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 245
Mansfield 6 7 13 16 – 42
Granbury 12 16 13 14 – 55
Granbury (3-4) scoring – Morgan Northcutt 19, Bryce Frank 13, Amber Strange 7, Kennedy Shelstead 7, Erin Jones 4, Caroline Forrest 3, Sarah Sledge 2.
Rebound leaders – Frank 10, Strange 9.
Steal leaders – Northcutt 3, Strange 3, Frank 3.