CELINA — There have been stretches in each of Whitesboro’s losses where the Lady Bearcats have shown their competitive spirit but keeping that as a consistent theme of the match is the sticking point.
It hasn’t helped that two of the opponents are perennial playoff qualifiers in Class 4A and the other is one of the better programs in 2A. But facing those foes is helping Whitesboro prepare for what is going to be a new-look district thanks to the last realignment.
"Every year when I do my schedule I try to get hard teams," Whitesboro head coach Carissa Gabbert said. "I came back with quite a few girls. I have four seniors so there’s good leadership. We have teams like Ponder and Boyd in our district. District games are two weeks away."
After Whitesboro hung with the Lady Bobcats for the first game, it couldn’t did itself out a big hole in the second and Celina went on to defeat the Lady Bearcats, 25-18, 25-4, 25-13, in non-district action.
Elly Harper had three kills, seven assists and four digs, Aubri Falco added three kills, three assists and 10 digs, Abby Robinson and BreAnn Beste each collected nine digs and Libby Langford and Chesney Wolf chipped in six digs apiece for Whitesboro (1-3), which hosts another 4A program in Anna on Tuesday night.
Lexi Manning and Megan Hodges led the way for Celina.
"We did some really good things that we’ve worked on in practice," Gabbert said. "Do we have some things we need to work on? Absolutely. I love this set of girls. They’re very positive. I want to see what they can do and if they get out of things."
The teams traded points to open Game 1 and Whitesboro was up 6-4 before Celina went on a 6-0 spurt. The Lady Bobcats’ lead disappeared quickly as Olivia Scoggins led a 5-0 counter and the Lady Bearcats were back in front at 12-11. After the score was tied at 13, Celina took the lead for good but it had trouble shaking Whitesboro.
Ryan McCoy and Manning put down consecutive kills as the home team held an 18-15 advantage. Scoggins and Langford helped the Lady Bearcats get within a point twice, the last at 19-18, before Celina ended the stanza on a 6-0 run.
"I was very pumped. I was excited to see that. It was like what we showed against Melissa," Gabbert said.
The Lady Bobcats scored four of the first five points in Game 2 and then Manning took control of a stretch as Celina blew things wide open. She had three kills in a 6-0 burst and then a 14-0 surge with Lily Neidhart at the service line made it a 24-3 score which was quickly finished off.
"I’m a strong believe in preseason to see them work out of it. Can we pull through?" Gabbert said. "I tried to let them get out of that hole. It might have been too big of a hole to do that."