Lamar point guard Destiny Thurman couldn’t miss prior to her team’s 88-37 win at Mansfield on Jan. 10.
“I was just feeling it tonight,” the junior said. “I had a good shoot around for this game. I was like, ‘I’m going to take a few threes.’”
She had good reason for feeling confident. Thurman’s red-hot shooting touch carried over to the game. Playing limited minutes, Thurman poured in 19 points in, helping the Lady Vikings improve to 6-0 in 4-6A play. And she wasn’t even the leading scorer. That was teammate Ariel Williams, who tallied 21 points, 17 of those in the first half.
“They both are doing a great job,” Lamar coach Errin Levels said. “They’ve stepped up in all facets of their game, both offensively and defensively. And that’s made a big difference.”
Thurman’s defensive prowess and offensive talent were on display in equal measure during the early second quarter. She brought the ball up the court and confidently swished a 3-pointer for a 28-11 lead. On the next possession, Thurman set up a teammate for an easy lay-up.
Next, she collected a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up, nailing a shot, drawing a foul and then hitting the foul shot. Thurman capped off the impressive run by stealing the ball and then splashing home another 3-pointer for a 37-13 advantage.
“I just try to come out and play my best every game, whether it’s going to be an easy game or a hard game,” Thurman said. “You never know who’s watching.”
Williams was no less dominant, collecting rebounds, leading fast breaks and knocking down a variety of shots. “You just play your game,” Williams, a senior guard/forward, said. “You can’t think too hard about it. Just play basketball the way you know how to play.”
Despite their competitive style of play, Williams said there’s no competition between her and Thurman over who scores the most on a given night. Instead, each player enjoys seeing the other succeed. “She’s a great basketball player and even better teammate,” Williams said.
Thurman, who’s been on varsity since she was a freshman, has worked this season on becoming a better on-court leader. “My freshman and sophomore year I was quiet,” Thurman said. “I’ve just been talking to them more and leading them because that’s what a point guard is supposed to do.”
Often, Thurman’s job entails passing to an open Williams. “Especially if she’s on fire, I try to make sure to go to her side and keep it hot,” Thurman said.
Most nights, they both pour in plenty of points. And so do their teammates. “In order for us to be successful, it can’t be one person scoring,” Levels said. “It needs to be three or four people scoring in double digits.”
But for all of their success, Lamar players still think of themselves as underdogs. Posted in the team’s locker room is a preseason poll that predicted a fifth-place finish in district for the Lady Vikings.
“We definitely took that to heart, and we’re trying to prove everybody wrong this year,” Thurman said.
The Martin boys squad entered its Jan. 13 matchup with North Crowley at 5-0 to lead the District 4-6A standings. Even a loss could drop the Warriors into no worse than a tie for first place as they continue to fend off school district rivals Bowie (3-1 entering its Friday game) and Lamar (2-2), along with North Crowley and Mansfield (3-1).
Arlington and Sam Houston were seeking their first victories on Friday.
Seguin entered its Jan. 13 bye date with a 2-2 mark in District 9-5A. That’s good enough to tie for third place with three other teams.
On the girls side, Lamar and Bowie were poised to suffer the first blemish on their district record, as each team entered their Jan. 13 game at Lamar at 6-0 in 4-6A. Martin entered its Friday night game at 4-2, while Arlington and Sam Houston are struggling to pick up wins.
The Seguin girls were set to host Crowley on Jan. 13 and were 5-1 heading into that game. It was a good chance for the Lady Cougars to pull into a first-place tie.
The boys soccer district season begins Jan. 24, and a great matchup is on hand at Sam Houston at 7:30 p.m. as the perennial power takes on a tough rival in Lamar. Martin hosts Bowie at the same time, and Arlington will be at North Crowley. Seguin hosts Joshua at 7:45 p.m. Jan. 27.
The girls are also underway in district starting Jan. 24, with Arlington at North Crowley at 6 p.m., Lamar at Sam Houston at 6:15 p.m. and Bowie at Martin at at 6 p.m. Seguin hosts Joshua at 6 p.m. Jan. 27.
Stephen English: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sbenglish74