It was one thing when the Lake Dallas girls basketball team made its Cinderella run to the region tournament last season. But to make another deep postseason run in 2021 — in the middle of a pandemic, no less — seemed improbable at best.
That’s exactly what the Lady Falcons did, however, as they racked up an impressive 24-6 record while advancing to the Class 5A Region I quarterfinals on February 24.
Though their season ended earlier than they wanted in a devastating 53-52 loss to Wichita Falls Rider, it was the program’s fourth-straight playoff appearance and proved that this once downtrodden program is now a consistent force to
be reckoned with.
Second-year head coach Jordan Davis — a former Baylor standout — praised her girls and said what they accomplished this season went beyond the call of duty.
“What I tried to tell the girls [after the loss to Rider] is that you have to look at what you played through,” Davis said. “We’re standing here talking in masks, practicing in masks. It’s an every 100-year pandemic, and these kids are practicing their hearts out, keeping their noses covered, not hanging out with their friends, and not seeing people. And then you throw in an ice storm and blizzard in the middle of it all where you have to take six days off and then go win an area-round game. That’s hard. I’ve never gone through that in my life. I don’t know what that’s like.”
She added, “For them to keep taking steps and moving forward; they are so resilient. I can’t imagine what it was like [for them]. They just fought, and my heart seeks for them. It didn’t end the way we wanted, and that’s always sad.”
The Lady Falcons’ 2021 season included an unbeaten run to its second straight district title. Once in the playoffs, they knocked off Aledo, 64-35, and outlasted Mansfield Timberview in the area round, 51-43. They were beating Rider — the No. 3 team in the state — by 13 points in the first half but ultimately couldn’t maintain that momentum as the game wore on.
Mackenzie Buss, a junior who regularly makes highlight-reel plays, finished with 20 points and was nearly impossible to stop in the paint and on the perimeter. Lake Dallas had a chance to steal a win in the closing seconds but saw a last-ditch 3-pointer rim out as time expired.
“They broke down a bit, but they did what we asked them to do — get a screen and look for a shot,” Davis said. “It’s like I told them; they can come up and shoot all the time and do everything, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. We still had some good looks down the stretch. But sometimes, it’s just not your night.”
Even with the loss, the good news is that this team is far from done chasing state championships. Davis will only graduate two seniors this year, meaning that she has seven starters returning. Coming back are stars such as Buss, Camryn Richardson, Jorja Elliott, Bailey Broughton, and Allie Buchanan, to name a few.
“You want them to remember how this feels, not as a bad point, but as a motivator. You hope that they say, ‘Man, I sure hated the way that ended, and I’m going to do whatever I need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately, we’ve got to wait a long time to do it again.”
If one thing is for sure, don’t be so quick to count the Lady Falcons out.
photo courtesy of Lake Dallas ISD