For the Lake Dallas girls basketball team, this has been just the season they always hoped and dreamed of.
Following Denton Braswell’s 63-54 loss to The Colony and its own 63-40 drubbing of Denton Ryan on Tuesday night, Lake Dallas etched its name into the record books forever, cementing its spot as a co-district champion with Braswell in District 8-5A and getting the No. 1 postseason seed out of the district after a coin flip.
“This is such a great accomplishment for our team,” said Jordan Davis, Lake Dallas head coach. “District champions was a goal of theirs at the beginning of the season, and they worked their tails off to achieve it. I am proud to be their coach. They are a great, gritty, fun team.”
Throughout the year, Lake Dallas was handed its fair share of adversity. Some players went down with injuries – sophomore point guard Mackenzie Buss tore her ACL during summer league after winning Newcomer of the Year in the district as a freshman and has been out since September, sophomore post Allie Buchanan went down, sophomores Jorja Elliott and Bailey Broughton missed some games with the flu, and freshman post Altyn Bartley has only appeared in eight games.
Despite all of that, the Lady Falcons endured numerous setbacks to become one of the top dogs in 8-5A and the region. It went 24-8 overall and 10-2 in district play, splitting the season series with Braswell – the No. 14-ranked team in 5A, according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches – to create the sharing of the trophy.
“This group is just really gritty and really persevered through a lot,” Davis said. “I’m just really proud of the work and things that they’ve been doing and put the product that we’ve put on the floor. They’re just a fun group to coach. This year has been super fun and exciting, and now we’re getting to the best part of the year.”
On a roster filled with youngsters – eight of the 11 players are either freshmen or sophomores – Lake Dallas is finding contributions up and down the rotation. Three players are averaging double-digit scoring totals, three have four or more rebounds per game and two are dishing out 2.9-plus assists.
Senior Dorian Norris is among the top performers on the team, putting up team highs in points (13.3) and rebounds (6.6) per game. Sophomore Jorja Elliott is right behind her with an average of 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds, while senior Josephine Elliott leads the team in assists (5.3 per contest) in addition to her 12.4 points and 4.5 rebounds on a nightly basis.
It highlights just how versatile the Lady Falcons are, a bunch where anyone can pick up the load on any given night.
“I think just kind of that philosophy that the girls have bought into,” Davis said. “It’s not about one person doing it. It could be anybody on any given night. I think when we played Braswell, we had five people in double digits. It’s a group effort to get some big wins like that and just everybody doing their role.”
Davis has been around ultra-successful teams throughout her coaching days. Since ending her playing days at Baylor in 2006, she has led the way for some of the top squads in her region and the state.
From 2008-15, as the head coach at Celina, her alma mater, Davis guided the Lady Bobcats to a Class 3A state final trip to 2012 and made four consecutive trips to the regional tournament beginning in that runner-up campaign before taking over the helm at Flower Mound Marcus for four years.
She sees a lot of success in store for this group at Lake Dallas, which is ready to build off its co-district title, make a deep run in its third straight playoff trip and hopefully get past the bi-district round for the first time in 2007-08.
“I think this team has potential,” Davis said. “I’ve told them several times I’ve had some pretty good teams at Celina when I coached there. This group has been just as gritty and tough as some of those. It’s just been really fun.
“But I think the potential is there. You’ve just got to make sure you bring it and are taking care of yourself and getting your shots up and executing the game plan. But that’s why we roll out there and we get to the playoffs — just get there and give yourselves a chance.”