Lilley Vander Zee returned to action Tuesday night for the Granbury Lady Pirates basketball team after missing five games with a back injury.
Her return was celebrated, but the Lady Pirates didn’t find much joy in a 33-29 loss to Midlothian.
The Lady Pirates (5-9 overall) fell to 0-3 on their home court. Just as they did in previous home losses to Mansfield Summit and Mansfield, they had a chance to win in the closing minutes, but let it slip away.
Trailing 28-26 with just over a couple minutes left in the game, the Lady Pirates went cold and allowed Midlothian (8-2) to go on a 5-0 run, with three points at the foul line, where Granbury was just 4-for-4 all night.
“I thought in the Cowtown Classic, even though we only won one game, we made some headway having to play without Lilley, but we stepped back tonight,” said Granbury coach leta Andrews, whose team lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Vander Zee, the 6-4 all-state post who has signed with the University of Texas, played sparingly and finished with six points and three rebounds. The effects of the injury were, at times, obvious, but she fought through and garnered Andrews’ praise.
“She wanted to play, and I appreciate that will to play, but she doesn’t have much stamina,” said Andrews.
With four starters returning from last season’s regional semifinalist, hopes were high for the Lady Pirates this season.
But even before Vander Zee’s injury, the Lady Pirates were struggling to find the same chemistry that guided them to a 29-9 record and their best season since 2003. Andrews has tinkered with the lineup, trying to generate something, she said.
“I know they’re playing hard, but for some reason things just aren’t clicking,” said Andrews.
Granbury’s only was 4-2 early. They tied it at 24 in the fourth.
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Midlothian 6 7 9 11 – 33
Granbury 4 6 9 10 – 29
Granbury (5-9) scoring – Lauren Clough 10, Morgan Northcutt 7, Lilley Vander Zee 6, Bailey Cole 4, Shelby Cline 2.
Granbury 3-pointer – Clough.
Rebounds – Bonugli 6, Northcutt 4.
Assists – Clough 3.
Steals – Cole 2.
Free throws – Granbury 4-4, Midlothian 6-8.