Down 22-4 at the end of the first quarter, coach Darren Wilson calmly looked at his Byron Nelson girls basketball team and preached patience and faith.
Now, Nelson’s chances of coming back against Aledo in last Friday’s Class 4A area playoff game were going to be tough. But the Lady Bobcats (24-8) narrowed the gap to three points before falling, 53-45, at Saginaw Chisholm Trail.
“It was really a slow start,” Wilson said. “We had some looks, but weren’t knocking down shots. They had some people making threes that we didn’t anticipate making threes. But we made adjustments, told them to keep playing. They did. It could have gotten really ugly after the first quarter. And we could have lost by 30-40 points. But our girls played with a lot of pride and weren’t going to let that happen.”
Really, Nelson won the next three quarters. It just wasn’t by the margin necessary to overcome the Lady Bearcats, who are seeking a second consecutive appearance in the Class 4A state tournament.
Nelson’s Madison Edwards finished the game with a team-high 16 points, while Dakesha Butler added 13 and Tralyn Woodard had nine.
While the season ended with a loss, there are still many things for Wilson to relish. First, his program won that elusive first playoff game and can put something in the trophy case. Second, the 24 wins are the most in any season. Third, his team came away with trophies in the three tournaments it participated in – Northwest/Nelson, White Settlement Brewer and Saginaw Boswell.
“It’s always a disappointment that it’s over,” Wilson said. “There were a lot of emotions in the locker room after the game finished. This group of kids really did a spectacular job of building this program and getting to a level where it needed to be. Now, it’s going to be up for the next group to keep it going.”
As the nine seniors say goodbye, the one frustration about 2013-2014 was this team was inconsistent scoring-wise. There were games when it would score in the 30s and then games when it would hit the 50s. Matchups played a part, but that could have been the difference in the team winning the District 5-4A championship.
Nonetheless, Wilson said several players are looking at playing in college. That includes Edwards and Wolters. No one has given a verbal commitment.
We are family
The tragedy of the death of Northwest girls basketball player Katleyn ShyAnn Hooper impacted the Nelson girls basketball team.
In fact, Wilson said the team, which warmed up at Northwest on Monday before it went over to play its bi-district playoff against Birdville, said the accident happened about 15 minutes after the team left the school.
To show support, the team again drove over to Northwest before Friday’s playoff game against Aledo and took a picture in front of the Northwest logo. For the game, every player wore red socks to remember Hooper and Northwest. Red is a part of Northwest’s official colors.
“We’re a family, and this is what families do,” Wilson said. “It was just our way of letting them know we’re thinking of them and if there’s anything we can do, we’re there for them.”