by Jaclyn Harris, The Talon News
The starling disparity between two 4A state semifinalists came to a head at the first round of the championship on Friday.
Five time consecutive state champions, the Argyle Lady Eagles, took on the Fredericksburg Lady Billies, who had not seen a state championship in 25 years.
Following a 49-38 victory over the Lady Billies, Argyle will take on the Fairfield Lady Eagles in the final game of the state championship at 7 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Saturday.
“Our coaches told us that going into this game we had to just go after them and get the first punch away at the very beginning,” senior shooting guard Rhyle Mckinney said. “That’s just what we try to do, we were super confident going into the game, and that’s just how it has to be.”
The game started off with a narrow 7-8 lead by the Lady Eagles at the end of the first quarter.
“We missed a lot of shots in the first quarter that we typically make but we played good defense,” head coach Chance Westmoreland said. “We knew how well [Fredericksburg] attacked the basket. Usually teams don’t shoot as well from the three point line down here but I thought we did a good job defensively.”
The defensive capabilities of the team proved to play a major theme heading into the second quarter. With a layup by McKinney with 38 seconds left in the half and a 3-point play by senior point guard Brooklyn Carl, the Lady Eagles pulled ahead with a score of 24-21 at the half. Carl also led the team in rebounds, with a total of six throughout the game.
“I knew that Rhyle was either going to get double-teamed or they’d put their best defender on her so I had to step up,” Carl said. “Whenever they double-teamed Rhyle I knew that would give us shots so I had to hit them. I was very concentrated on that.”
The Lady Eagles widened their lead in the fourth quarter, bringing the score to 40-30.
“Last weekend the teams followed a game plan of shut everyone else down and make Rhyle beat them one-on-one,” Westmoreland said. “She did that, so I knew that our other kids were going to get good looks and they did a good job making the shots.”
The team is looking to secure their sixth consecutive state title, this will be their seventh consecutive time advancing to the tournament.
“I have kids that are coachable,” Westmoreland said. “It all starts with having kids that are coachable. They refuse to lose and they have that mentality that they will do whatever it takes to win.”
Fairfield defeated the Lincoln Tigers with a final score of 76-51, and they will take on the Lady Eagles in the final round of the state tournament tomorrow.
“They’ve got some great players and great coaching staff and have had some really good wins,” Westmoreland said. “Our defense is going to have to be lights out and we’re going to have to make great offensive moves when they present themselves.”