As Hurst L.D. Bell’s players left the court after a 70-29 loss to Duncanville in the Class 5A Region I Final, few heads hung in despair.
“All smiles,” one player said as she jogged over for a team photo.
When you lose to the two-time defending state champions who entered with a 103-game winning streak, effort certainly counts. Bell coach Brock Pembleton could fault no player in her effort.
“I told them all I wanted was them to play hard, so they played hard the whole game,” Pembleton said. “I’m extremely proud and blessed to be able to coach them.”
Bell (29-3) clamped down on Duncanville senior guard and Texas commit Ariel Atkins to begin the game, holding her to just eight points in the first half.
However, a team doesn’t notch its 104th consecutive win and third straight trip to the state tournament riding one player.
On Saturday, it was 5-foot-11 senior forward Tiara Davenport who benefited from a size mismatch down low, posting a game-high 21 points for Duncanville (34-0).
When Davenport wasn’t finding the net, senior guard Adrianna Davis got the job done, scoring nine of her 11 points in the second quarter.
When Bell came out in the second half attempting to stop the bleeding, Atkins found her stride, finishing with 16 points and five steals.
“They’re big, they’re aggressive, they shoot the ball extremely well,” Pembleton said. “You take one out and they have four or five or six more that can shoot. The size inside early was just too much for us.”
Freshman forward Alexis Gordon finished with a team-high 10 points for Bell.
“This L.D. Bell girls basketball team is the best girls basketball team in school history,” Pembleton said. “They’ve gone farther than any team in the history of L.D. Bell. They’ve already written their name in the books.”