NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - On Tuesday morning, the Chireno Lady Owls left for the state basketball tournament in San Antonio.
The Lady Owls will take on Lipan on Thursday at 8:30 in the morning in the 1A semifinal at the Alamo Dome. This is the second time the school has been to the state tournament. The last time was in 2016. The team includes eight members of last year’s softball team. That team went to the state tournament as well. Their head coach Giff Durham went to state in 1998 and 1999 as an assistant with the Hudson girls basketball team.
They are hoping all of those experiences help bring home a title.
“I think it has been a blessing,”Nelly Vargas said. “As team, most of us have been there and got close. We are using that experience. wee have been there and know that feeling.”
“they have developed this never say quit, never die attitude,” Durham said. “That’s what I told them at halftime the other night.”
That halftime speech will be something the team never forgets. In the 1A Region IV semifinals the Lady Owls were down 17 points to Fayetville. They came back to win and then went on and beat la Poyner, a team that has traditionally given Chireno fits.
“I told them we just had to stay after it,” Durham said. 'I told them to take it one possession at a time. They battled back. they just have that attitude. "
Durham said for fans that have not seen his team play it will not be the flashy type of game.
“Defense is a big part with what we do,” Durham said. “It’s not fun. Kids want to shoot but this group buys into ad they get after you from the tip off to the end.”
Despite being a small school the team is confident that they will see plenty of purple to give them support.
It is great to know that win or lose they have our back," Jaleigh Johnson said. “We play for the Lord and we play for our fans. It is great to have their support.”
Ticket information for the game can be found here.