With March Madness fast approaching, some people can’t help but remember the iconic image of coach Jim Valvano running around the court, looking for someone to hug after his 1983 North Carolina State men’s team won the NCAA title. The statement he made to his team during the entire tournament was “Survive and Advance.” The Lady Eagles of Atascocita High School have taken this approach to heart in the state basketball tournament where anything can happen, including a win by margins that were unexpected.
This is what happened on Tuesday, Feb.19 as the Lady Eagles won their game against the Lady Oilers of Pearland by a 21-point margin for a final score of 51-29. This victory came after narrowly defeating Clear Falls by three points just four days prior on Feb. 15.
The wide margin of victory in the game against the Oilers is in large part to do with the point contributions from senior guard Brittany Stafford and freshman Robin Whitehead, as both stole the show on Tuesday night, scoring 12 and 18 points respectively and also coming away with three steals each. Senior Hayden Morin also chipped in with eight points and four steals on the night.
The constant of winning tight games, as the case was in the game against Clear Falls, as well as winning games by margins of high value seemed to be a setting of a trend, as in the bi-district round of the tournament the Eagles crushed La Porte Bulldogs 71-18.
With this in mind, the mentality of “Survive and Advance” was clearly on the Lady Eagles’ mind as they headed into the regional semi-finals of the tournament on Friday, Feb. 22. This time however, they fell just short of the victory in another close game, losing 45-44 against the Westside Wolves, trailing by five at halftime down 23-18, and then down by eight at the start of the fourth quarter.
While they outscored the Wolves in the fourth 13-6, the deficit was just too much for them to handle and they were unable to survive and advance. They will have to try again next year to make another run at a state title.