BANGS — The Bangs Lady Dragons may not have earned their first District 8-2A victory Tuesday night, but they showed they are still very much a playoff contender as they pushed reigning district champion Grape Creek to five sets before falling 25-18, 25-12, 22-25, 24-26, 15-11.

Bangs (0-2 in district) was swept by Colorado City in Saturday’s district opener, and head coach Meredyth Meador stated heart was among the key conversations leading up to — and during — Tuesday’s encounter.

“They dug down deep and quit playing for themselves and started playing for each other,” Meador said. “They played more as a team tonight than they have all year. They put their heart on their sleeve and said if they other team wanted it, they’d have to come and take it.”

Drea Evers and Nette Evers led the Lady Dragons with four kills each, two came from Keirstin Williams and Jobi Roberts and Kelsey Laird tallied one each. Taylor Vasquez led the Lady Dragons in assists.

Four kills from Drea Evers was a team-high, followed by Williams’ three and one each from Roberts, Beth Mullins and Danielle Pritchard.

Drea Evers also led Bangs with eight blocks, while Roberts notched two blocks and Nette Evers had one.

Bangs appeared on the brink of its second straight district sweep, but fought back from deficits of 15-10 in the third set, then 24-21 in the fourth, to force the tiebreaker.

“They had a little bit more fire in them and instead of just thinking they could do it they decided that they really could do it,” Meador said.

The Lady Dragons carried that momentum into the fifth set, where they grabbed a 4-1 lead aided by a kill and a block from Drea Evers.

But Grape Creek responded with five straight points and 12 of the next 14 to seize a 13-6 advantage.

“In a match to 15 like that, one point feels like five, and the momentum just changed,” Meador said.

Bangs closed the gap to 13-10 on a spike and a volley for points by Laird, a block from Roberts and an unforced Grape Creek hitting error, but the Lady Dragons’ comeback eventually ran out of steam.

Meador hopes the Lady Dragons feed off their finish when they resume district play Saturday against Eastland.

“We have to play hard the whole time,” Meador said. “We can’t have breakdowns where we are digging out of a hole. It’s just too hard to battle back all the time.”