As a three seed, the Wharton Lady Tigers will get a tough test in their first-round playoff matchup.
The Lady Tigers (17-7, 9-3) will play the La Grange Lady Leopards (29-4, 9-1) Monday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Leonard Merrell Center in Katy.
The Lady Leopards finished the regular season ranked inside the Texas Basketball Coaches Top 20. While they are ranked as one of the top teams in the state, one loss to Navasota in district and a bad coin flip dropped them to second place.
La Grange will have the experience with five seniors, with three being starters since their sophomore season. In the playoffs last year, the Lady Leopards beat Stafford, but lost in the second round.
The Lady Leopards run and gun. Their senior guard Aaliyah Hunt is a playmaker who can pass and hit three's, while also getting into the lane for layups.
Wharton had a good season under first-year head coach Ratysha Hardy.
"We've come a long way since last year," Lady Tigers junior shooting guard J’kayla Davis said. "The chemistry is stronger. The bond we've built as a team is amazing. We feel like we're going to do good."
As the team's sharpshooter from outside, if Davis gets hot it could be a long night for La Grange. Sophomore point guard Justaisha Holmes has also been a key for Wharton on offense scoring on a lot of drives.
Coming into the game, La Grange hasn't been challenged a ton. While the Lady Tigers had to fight in their final two games, both against district teams going to the playoffs, as they tried to lock up better seeding.
"The last (couple) of games have sped up and (caused) us to run faster. We've (had to) hustle hard," Holmes said.
In Wharton's final three games, two against teams in District 25-4A going to the playoffs, the defense has allowed an average of 39.3 points. The few games La Grange lost this year, they've been held offensively scoring 42 points or less.
When the Lady Tigers meet up with La Grange Monday, their defense will have to cause turnovers and make things tough if they are going to have a chance at moving on.
"Defense most definitely (has to be working)," Davis said. "We're going have to continue to work (hard) because defense wins games."