In a city where sports fans switch between yellow, red and orange, blue is the unifying color between all three high school athletic programs. Fittingly the McKinney North girls basketball team wore blue uniforms Friday night in its Class 4A Regional semifinal game against Frisco Liberty High, because as the last MISD basketball team in playoffs, the whole city is watching. The Lady Bulldogs remarkable season continued Friday night as they took down the Redhawks 49-42.
Although North spent most of the game ahead of Liberty, it was held within a few points for most of the game. The game was led by No. 33 for both sides as North’s senior Mikaehla Connor and Liberty’s Majestie Robinson continued to put up points for their respective teams. Robinson led the court with 19 points, but couldn’t keep up with the well conditioned Lady Bulldogs.
“We seem to play a little better each game and stepping up in the fourth quarter,” Head coach Michael Oldham said. “A lot of it is our conditioning and the fact that we play nine to 10 players, so we just have that little bit of extra wind in the final minutes.”
North’s conditioning will be important Saturday, as the team heads into the regional championship game at 1 p.m. against The Colony High School (16-7) only a day after their win against Liberty. The lack of rest might hinder most players, but Oldham is confident in his team’s abilities.
“It’s the Regional Finals and we’re going to do what we do. We played a lot of people tonight, so hopefully we’ll have fresh legs tomorrow,” Oldham said. “I believe youth is a great thing and they’ll roll out of bed reenergized and ready to go.”
This is only the second time the North’s girls team has made it to the regional finals, appearing in the 2009-10 season in a loss to Frisco Wayland, and Coach Oldham’s first time this far. Although Oldham and his team may not be used to making it so far, they do have the skill and experience of Connor who went to the state tournament her freshman year. Before transferring to North, Connor went to the State Tournament with Lovejoy and the experience has helped her lead this team her senior year.
“Mikaehla is a beast. She’s one of the greatest players I’ve ever coached in terms of understanding the game, being physical and just having the desire to win,” Oldham said. “It’s her senior year, she’s the only one of us to actually make it to the State tournament so she knows what it takes. If you’ve watched her the last four games, she’s been the leader of our team.”
Connor and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs will be back in Garland’s Culwell event Center at 1 p.m. Saturday to fight for the championship against the Lady Cougars. The arena is sure to be packed full of family and friends wearing orange, but don’t be surprised to see more blue than usual. The lady bulldogs have become the stars of this city and no matter the outcome against The Colony, this fantastic season will be one to be remembered.