Holiday Hurrah: North girls dominate Sherman tournament
The No. 7 state-ranked McKinney North girls basketball team continued its season-long dominance, winning the Sherman Holiday Classic this past weekend.
"Sherman's been pretty good to us as we've always played well in that gym," said Michael Oldham, North head coach. "Lots of things went right. We had good defensive intensity and shot the ball well and when we do those two things, we're usually pretty good."
North senior guard Alexis Mason and teammate junior forward Mikaehla Connor earned all-tournament honors. Mason set the Lady Bulldogs' school record for most points in a single game at 33. The effort came against Plano in the semifinals.
Earlier in the tournament, Mason also tied the program record with 10 steals in a single game against Melissa. Connor, meanwhile, led the team in offense in the title game.
"Both of them were really solid throughout the tournament on both ends," Oldham said.
North beat Melissa 66-50 to open the tournament. The Lady Bulldogs followed that up with a close 67-62 win against Plano Senior in the semifinals before beating Celina 62-52 in the tournament final.
"In all three games we had anywhere from a 16 to a 19-point lead with four or so minutes left in the game," Oldham said. "Plano and Celina made some runs at the end. We didn't close out really well and that's probably the one thing we can take for improvement coming out of the tournament, being able to close better."
The successful holiday tournament puts North at an impressive 19-3 on the season. The Lady Bulldogs have won their last 12 straight, with their last loss coming more than a month ago on Nov. 29. North's only three losses this year were sprinkled throughout the season, coming against elite level competition, such as Irving MacArthur and Plano West.
For years North has delivered a strong, state-ranked team that plays deep into February. Oldham believes this year's team has the potential to be one of the program's best.
"I'm very pleased," he said. "I think I've used the word 'surreal' a couple times. I've never had a team that's won as consistently as we've been able to do. I'm pleased, yet I know we need to take one game at a time and focus on what's ahead of us."
What's ahead is the district schedule. The end of the Sherman tournament didn't only mark the Lady Bulldogs' 19th win in 22 games, it also marked the end of North's non-district schedule. The Lady Bulldogs begin their District 13-4A slate Friday night on the road against Greenville.
Although the Lady Bulldogs are a highly ranked team with few holes, Oldham knows there are always areas that need improvement, something the team will look to fine-tune beginning Friday.
"We can still get better defensively," he said. "That's what we got to really focus on, keeping our defensive intensity. We've done a lot of things well, but we can still get better on that end."