And then there were none.
The Lake Ridge girls basketball team was the last Mansfield ISD team standing in the girls playoffs this season and that, too, has come to an end.
The Lady Eagles fell to Sulphur Springs last week, 50-32, in the 4A area-round playoffs.
Sulphur Springs’ defense presented initial concerns for Lake Ridge, and head coach Stephani Gray saw their 3-2 zone as a key to getting the Lady Eagles untracked offensively.
Lake Ridge stayed close after the first quarter, down just 13-8.
The second quarter was a draw, as each team added 10 points to their totals.
The third quarter was when the season’s end became a little too realistic, as the Lady Eagles were outscored 19-6.
“Our kids have never backed down,” Gray said. “Sulphur Springs was tough and they had a great outside game. We never gave up but it just wasn’t in the cards for us,” she said.
Lake Ridge wasn’t able to make up any ground in the final quarter for the final score and final game of the season. They finished the season at 17-16.
Overall, the Lady Eagles performed well and possibly above many followers’ expectations.
“I was extremely pleased with the season,” Gray said. “The Legacy game is when we started playing as a team and played good team basketball,” she said, referencing the Jan. 17 win at Legacy, 53-46.
“Our motto was ‘Rise as One’ and it was a true testament to the team when you do rise as one,” Gray said.
Gray also noted that she almost second-guessed her scheduling of such a tough non-district slate, but said it helped prepare the team for the difficult district play and playoffs.
Last year, the Lady Eagles finished fifth, just out of the playoffs, but had an opportunity for the post-season.
Lake Ridge lost to Waxahachie in the final game of the season, which kept the Lady Eagles at home.
“It left us hungry for this season,” Gray said. “This year, as the season wound up, we knew we’d have to win two of the last three to get into the playoffs.”
And, this season should only whet the appetite for a solid returning core of players for next year, as the Lady Eagles will graduate just one player.
“We’ll definitely use this year to build for next year,” Gray said. “With the confidence we gain, we know we can compete as a team. It takes a while to learn how to win. We’re learning how to step on to a court and win,” she said of the young school’s progress.
“The whole ‘Rise as One’ theme has come alive and it’s been crucial,” Gray said.