The words that come out of Duncanville girls basketball coach Cathy Self-Morgans mouth obviously hit home for her undefeated, state top-ranked team.
After a lackluster win in Fridays Class 5A regional semifinal win gainst Arlington Bowie, Self-Morgan stressed a return to Pantherette Basketball or in laymans terms, high-pressure defense that turns into easy transition buckets.
Needless to say, Duncanvilles transition game punched the Pantherettes return ticket to Austin to defend its 5A state title with a 64-45 rout of Lubbock Coronado at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center on Saturday.
But beyond any Xs and Os, Self-Morgan diagrammed for the team, she told them to win and that wish was her teams command.
Were not prepared to lose, said Self-Morgan, whose team extended the nations longest winning streak to 68 games. I thought about that last week. I almost went into an anxiety attack. I said, I dont have these kids in any form or fashion prepared for that. The next morning I woke up after not sleeping well and said, OK, just dont let it happen.
Instead of walking through how to lose with grace and dignity, something her undefeated team has yet to experience this year, she reminded them to Be humble and be hungry after the game and sent them on their way.
The message hit home with star junior Ariel Atkins, who deferred her game-high 29 point performance to her teammates and the game plan, saying simply, Im not the best player on the team.
Got to stay humble and got to stay hungry, she followed it with.
Twice Coronado (36-2) came within 10 points of Duncanville (40-0), thanks to quality shooting and capitalizing on Duncanville misses. Coronado rode a 13-3 run in the second quarter, narrowing the margin to their closest deficit of the game, a 28-25 Duncanville lead.
Early in the fourth, Coronado managed to come back to nine down, 50-41, but after a Duncanville timeout, Atkins put the game away by scoring four points in transition, then taking a steal to the hoop that resulted in two made free throws.
Atkins also had plenty of help, dishing to Tasia Foman and Antiona Robinson for double-digit finishes in points.
We thought if we could stop them penetrating, then we had a chance. Shes good. She definitely took the ball to the hole. We had to game plan for all of them because she would dump it if she got stopped.
[Atkins is] good. She definitely took the ball to the hole, Coronado head coach Kriss Ethridge said. We had to game plan for all of them because she would dump it if she got stopped.
Duncanville celebrated its 22nd state tournament berth by cutting down the net at Wilkerson-Greines, which Self-Morgan hopes will be this teams only remaining post-game activity.
You try and teach the how to be humble and modest [after a loss] and not make a scene on the floor, Self-Morgan Keep it in the locker room and be proud you gave your very best effort in your last game, but Im not going to prepare this group to think like that. Just focus on winning.
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