Lake Dallas’ magical run to its first appearance in a Class 5A girls basketball regional semifinal in 12 years has junior Allie Buchanan and sophomore Camryn Richardson wanting more.
Seeing firsthand all of the hard work that it took to defeat Azle, Mansfield Legacy and Fort Worth Boswell in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Buchanan and Richardson don’t want another Cinderella run to end against a team such as their regional semifinal opponent, 2019 state champion Amarillo.
That’s why Buchanan and Richardson were more than happy to sign up with AAU club team Lone Star Magic after a chat last August with head coach Marty McLendon and associate head coach Gene Smith.
It’s been a successful summer season so far, to say the least.
Competing against teams who will likely each have multiple players moving on to college teams within the next few years, Lone Star Magic earned third place in the Premier Basketball Grand Finale, held July 25-27 at Fieldhouse USA in Mansfield.
Lone Star had little trouble with DC Queens WTX Blue in the July 25 tournament opener, cruising to a 59-26 victory. ProSkills 17U National rallied to defeat Lone Star 54-48 the next day but the Magic regrouped, handling Urban Heroes Elite 79-58 later that afternoon. Texas Platinum 16U Gold defeated Lone Star 57-40 in the tournament finale.
Buchanan shot 71% on 3-pointers for the tournament.
"There is good competition every game,” she said. “You can never take a game lightly. A lot of good players."
The previous weekend, also in Mansfield, Lone Star went a perfect 4-0 to win the High School Girls Pink Division of the Gary Blevins Memorial Classic. The Magic crushed Urban Heroes Elite, 60-36, in the first-place game.
“From being a freshman last year, I just knew that I needed to play up and play against better competition,” Richardson said. “Just being around all of these great players has made me better.”
On July 7 and 8, Lone Star competed in two tournaments in a two-day span, finishing the Heart of Texas and Super 64 National with a combined record of 6-2.
In addition to playing for Lone Star Magic, Buchanan and Richardson have worked on their game at the Falcon Pride voluntary summer and conditioning and skills workout sessions, which are led by Jordan Davis, who is entering her second season as Lake Dallas head girls basketball coach.
“June 8th was the first day that we did Falcon Pride and skills,” Davis said. “Camryn, Allie, Jorja (Elliott) and Bailey (Broughton) come here four days a week to work out. They’ve only missed one or two days because of obligations with their club teams. Some people get complacent after the kind of season that we had. This summer has forced us in crazy times. I haven’t seen anything but good from them. They’ve shown up and are doing the work. They have a lot of pride and a lot of heart. That’s what it takes to win. I’m proud of them.”
Buchanan, an honorable mention all-district 8-5A selection who provided crucial minutes in the playoffs after returning from injury, recently had college visits with Austin College as well as the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor.
“They were really great,” she said. “Great campuses. Great coaches. I have some offers right now, but I've been keeping it private with close friends and family.”
The upcoming winter season will have a different feeling. In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, the University Interscholastic League recently announced that every basketball team will play a 27-game regular season and there will not be any tournaments. Richardson said Lake Dallas came together as a team last season at a tournament in Granbury.
Now, the Lady Falcons will look for different ways to build camaraderie.
"It's definitely going to be different, but I'm grateful that we're going to have a season this year,” Buchanan said. “Hopefully, we'll make another playoff run this year.”