Coach JT McManus and others at Lufkin High School searched the record books over the weekend to find a team to compare to this year's Panthers. The search took a while. That's because McManus believes this is the Pack's first basketball team to reach the region quarterfinals since the state champions from 1979.
Standing in Lufkin's way of reaching another first in decades is Spring Westfield, a team that knocked out the Panthers in the first round of last season's playoffs.
Oh by the way, Westfield was 11th in the final state rankings of the regular season in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
The Pack though, are not worried about the number next to their opponent's name.
"It doesn't really mean a lot to us," said Sophomore KeKe Coutee. "We just have to play our game and do what we have to do to win."
"A ranking in just a ranking," said Junior D.J. Williams. "You still have to be able to prove it on the court and play to win."
"I am not intimidated at all," said D.J. Alexander. "Because they still have to come out and play all 32 minutes just like we do."
Ask any Panther, they will tell you that they remember last year's game vividly. And they hope that Spring Westfield does too.
"Last year they beat us pretty bad," said Williams. "But we are looking to do the same thing to them this year."
"We are not nervous anymore," said Alexander. "Because we played them last year, so we know what they got and what they can do. We are excited to get another shot."
"Hopefully that will work to our advantage from the stand point of they might over look us," said Coach JT McManus. "They beat us pretty bad last year, so hopefully they will look past this round and already have penciled themselves into the next round. And maybe we can sneak up on them."
Coach McManus admitted that they are big and a great team after scouting Westfield on Thursday before Lufkin's second round game. But by no means does he plan to just throw in the towel and allow Westfield to march through to the next round without a fight.
"At this point it doesn't matter who we are playing, they stand between us and trying to get to the regional tournament," said McManus. "So whoever it is you have to try and find a way to beat them. Whether we have to go over them, around them, under them or through them that is all we are trying to do."
Lufkin and Spring Westfield tip off at 7 p.m. from College Station High School Tuesday night. We will have updates on KTRE.com and the highlights Tuesday night at 10 on KTRE news.
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