Horn has been a focused group since the beginning of the season and the start of the playoffs is not the time to get caught looking ahead.
The Jaguars had no such problems in their bi-district playoff opener against Garland, as they raced to a 37-12 halftime lead and never looked back in a 76-28 victory.
Horn (23-4) now draws one of its toughest challenges of the season in the area round against Duncanville (23-2), who is ranked No. 3 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 6A state poll.
After a number of changes due to the inclement weather that hit the area last week, the playoffs were put on hold, but the Jaguar and Panthers are scheduled to finally meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Loos Field House.
Horn standout senior Jasmine Shavers was on her game in the playoff opener. The Mississippi State signee hit an assortment of shots, from 3-pointers to transition buckets, pouring in 40 points in just three quarters of work.
Shavers is a four-year varsity member, who has gone from a promising freshman to one of the top-rated collegiate prospects in the country.
Head coach Whitney Long said that Shavers has added to her game every offseason. Shavers had always had the ability to create and shoot from the outside, but learned how to handle point guard duties, first playing with N’Yah Boyd, who is now at North Texas, and later on her own.
“In her senior year, it seems like the layers finally came together, every tool she added to her tool box over the course of her high school career has finally come together,” Horn head coach Whitney Long said. “You can see it in the individual numbers she is putting up, but more importantly, you can see it in the way she is able to lead this team to victory against the area’s best.”
While it is great to feature a star, Horn is far from a one-player team.
Senior Viencia Jackson was a first-team all-district selection a year ago who has the ability to play all five positions.
When Jackson, the team’s second-leading scorer, missed time with an injury earlier in the season, others stepped up, with junior Dasia Robinson providing a spark, sophomore Camden Harston doing a lot of the little things and freshman post Vernell Atamah proving herself ready for the varsity level.
Along the way, the Jaguars got a boost from the return of not only Jackson, but also junior Da’Lonna Choice, and they are currently riding an eight-game winning streak, including a pair of wins over Tyler Legacy that gave them a share of the district title and then the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
“That has been the fun of this season; every single kid on our roster has made an impact,” Long said. “We have had so many step up and play key roles for us all season.”
Horn understands it is probably facing its toughest challenge to date against Duncanville. The Pantherettes have just two losses this season—both to No. 2 DeSoto—and the defending state champions are one of the favorites to claim their 12th title in program history.
But the Jaguars have high hopes of their own and they are eager to measure themselves up against the state’s elite.
“Our mantra all season has been that every day we step on the floor, our record is 0-0 and our job is to win the one that is in front of us,” Long said. “So whenever this weather will let us play again, that is what we are going to do, win the next game. We aren’t close to being done yet.”