Byron Nelson head girls basketball coach Darren Wilson recently experienced a dream job of sorts. Wilson was chosen as head coach for the 4A-5A Red Team in the Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) All-Star Game on Friday. Nominated by his peers then chosen by the TGCA All-Star committee to captain the Northern Texas team, Wilson said coaching in the game was a privilege.
“It is a great honor to have people recognize what you do over the course of the regular season or even your whole career,” he said. “It is a reward for the hard work. I am humbled by the fact that I was even nominated, let alone chosen.”
The fact that point guard and recent Byron Nelson graduate Tralyn Woodard was chosen for the team was icing on the cake.
“What meant the most was that I got to coach Tralyn one last time before she goes to play in college,” Wilson said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Woodard will continue her successful basketball career at Georgetown College in Kentucky. In fact, many of the girls on the All-Star team are already training with their collegiate teams or soon will be on their way.
“Most of the girls were already practicing with their college teams, so they had to come back for the game,” Wilson said. “That made it even more special.”
Friday’s game in Arlington matched the 4A-5A All-Star Red Team with the All-Star Blue Team from the southern half of the state. The Red Team won the game 98-52.
“I was really proud of our girls. I have to give them credit,” Wilson said. “The other team fought really hard and our girls played some good defense.”
While the team was made up of girls from all over the northern half of the state, many came from the DFW area.
“The Metroplex was well represented on our team,” Wilson said. “It was a blast to get to coach these kids I have coached against or read about in the paper.”
Along with Woodard, area standouts included Irving MacArthur’s Tory Jacobs, Keller Timber Creek’s Laniya Taylor, Flower Mound Marcus’s Morgan Easely and L.D. Bell’s Cierra Johnson.
“The other team had some tall girls but we had more size than they did. From the very beginning of the game we took advantage by going inside,” Wilson said. “Tralyn and Cierra put pressure on them from the start and they couldn’t get the ball to their tall girls.”
With a 20-point lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, Wilson’s team was hard to stop.
“Normally when you have a big lead you start to bring in your bench. In this game the whole bench was made up of All-Stars. We wanted the girls to have fun and every single girl scored, but we didn’t want to run up the score too much,” Wilson said. “The girls pulled back the pressure a little bit so the game stayed respectable.”
The experienced players made coaching the team exciting for Wilson and his assistant coach Brooke Walthall, even though they only had one practice with the team prior to Friday’s game.
“This was probably the most fun I’ve had coaching a basketball game,” he said. “I had an unlimited wealth of talent on the bench. I had to put them in the right places but I didn’t have to worry if any of them could handle it. It was an awesome feeling to know that any of those girls could go in at any time and there would be no drop off in the game. They all have so much talent.”
Wilson is looking forward now, to next season and Byron Nelson’s new 6A status. Having graduated 10 seniors last year, it will be a challenge he will take on with a young team.
“We have three girls returning and so we have some experience. Also, our JV was pretty successful last year,” he said. “We will be a young team but we should be able to compete well.”