Girls basketball starts offseason after first-round playoff loss


photo by Henry Hays

The team played their final game of the season on Tuesday against Guyer, losing 61-36. Of the three eligible seniors who played this season, all three received scholarships to play basketball in college. “[In the future], I think building on the legacy that these seniors are leaving this year and changing the culture of Hebron girls basketball [is our goal],” Branch said.

The girls basketball season has come to an end after losing in the bi-district playoff game against Guyer on Feb. 18.

“[The season] was a rollercoaster ride, emotionally and physically,” head coach Chalisa Branch said. “We had some great things that happened: winning 20-plus games again and making it to the playoffs for the second year in a row.”

The team finished fourth in district play behind MacArthur, Flower Mound and Lewisville. They ended with a district record of 8-5.

“I think the season overall went well,” senior Sierra Dickson said. “Obviously, we didn’t end where we wanted to, but I think we came together as a team. I think we just learned that we have to roll with the punches, not everything is going how you originally planned it, and you have to go with whatever happens and still play to the best of your ability.”

Two players tore their ACLs and four different players dislocated fingers over the course of the season. Illness also kept several players off the court.

“This season we had a lot of adversity, starting off with injuries,” Dickson said. “Throughout the season, I know that we tried to band together as much as we could.”

Branch said some players who were important to the success of the season were Dickson, senior Courtlyn Loudermill and sophomore Cammie McKinney. Branch said the team’s speed and defensive abilities also helped the team.

“We are not very big at all, but we can run and get up and down the floor,” Branch said. “We were able to press teams and defensively, be able to keep ourselves into some games. We weren’t able to score but our defense helped us out.”

Dickson and Branch said the tournaments were both turning points and fun moments of the season. At a tournament in Baytown, Texas, the team lost to DeSoto, the No. 1 ranked team in the state at the time, in the championship game. Branch also said close games against MacArthur, first in the district, and Flower Mound, second in the district, showed the team they could compete with top teams.

“My favorite part of the season was going to Baytown, Texas for a tournament,” Dickson said. We ended up getting second, but I think it was just a fun team building opportunity. It was a good competition and a good way to measure how we play against the better teams.”

Two years ago, the team did not win a single district game. Branch and her coaching staff said they hope to continue to create a winning culture where the players can bond. They think next season can build on that.

“They make us feel like a family,” Loudermill said. “They give us time to bond with the coaches and teammates — we just hang out 24/7 basically.”

Branch said she thinks the players learned how to compete this season and hopes they can use this in the future and in other aspects of their life.

“The biggest compliment that I received throughout the year was that the kids [come to] play,” Branch said. “No matter if we are winning by 20 or we are down by 20, they played until the buzzer. It’s also not just in basketball games where they are going to have to compete, it’s going to be in the real world.”