When Fort Worth North Side coach Dwayne Stevens took over the helm of the girls basketball team before this season, he quickly realized it was a forgotten program.
In a search for the program's last season of success, he found no one could really provide an answer. It was beyond the memory of Fort Worth school district athletic department administrators, he said.
A man who visited a North Side practice earlier this season told Stevens he couldn't remember the Steers having a winning girls basketball season in 40 years.
But the history books actually could be written after this season.
The North Side girls basketball team has bought into Stevens' system and sits with a 14-11 overall record, 6-6 in District 6-4A.
Stevens was quick to admit his team was not the most talented he's ever coached, but it's his players' scrappy nature that has created success this season.
"My motto to them this year was hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," Stevens said. "It's controlling what you can control. We can control being good students and good role models. We can control doing the right things and being to practice on time."
Before the season began, Stevens had every player post goals on their lockers and on their mirrors at home so they could see them every day, and he had them write down their priorities for the year.
"Our team decided that our priorities this year would be God, family, academics and basketball, in that order," Stevens said. "We put those priorities in that order so we would have a chance to be successful."
The result is not only a good shot at finishing with a record above .500, but also a shot at District 6-4A's fourth and final playoff berth. North Side is tied with Birdville for that spot, but the Hawks own the tiebreaker, having beaten North Side twice this season.
"We're going to need to upset somebody or have somebody beat them in these last four games," Stevens said.
Seguin in driver's seat
With Arlington Seguin's 46-41 win over Red Oak last week, the Cougars (21-7, 8-1 District 15-4A) control their destiny toward winning a first district title since 2009.
Friday's game came down to the final quarter after being tied at halftime and at the end of the third frame.
"Every time we come back on the court it was like we hadn't played yet. It was 0-0 again," Seguin coach Courtney Phillips said.
In the end, a few Seguin defensive stops sealed the victory over Red Oak (21-7, 7-2).
It's that defense that Phillips makes the focal point of her program.
"We know offense wins games, but defense wins championships," Phillips said.
"So we've been really focused on our press and our half-court defense. We know our offense will fall, but we have to really focus on our defense and step it up."
Phillips said her players shared a hunger for a district title. That hunger was evident Monday when the team asked Phillips to have practice even though it was a scheduled off day.
"They were like, 'Coach, we can't afford it. If we won by 20, that would be one thing, but there's still stuff we have to work on,' and I was like, 'I'm right there with you,'" Phillips said.
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