After making a playoff appearance last season, the Panthers were prepared to do whatever it took to get there again and this time go further. This season, the team opened up preseason play with a strong five game win-streak. Using the highs and lows to power themselves through to each next moment, the Panthers continued to battle on the court against the opponents they would face leading up to district play; posting victories over the likes of Aledo (61-45), Pantego (63-21), Carrollton Prince of Peace (67-22), Denison (66-48), and more.
In district play, the Panthers were ready for anything. With strong victories over the likes of Ursuline Academy (52-35), Prestonwood Christian Academy (48-33), Fort Worth Nolan Catholic (49-47), and more the Panthers finished district play fourth place in their standings with a 7-5 district record. Knowing they had to focus on the court if they wanted to push further than last season, Parish put in dedication every day to be great through playoffs.
Ending the seasons of Concordia Lutheran (42-19) and Antonian Prep (57-45), Parish has made it to the final four in the TAPPS girls basketball playoffs. Ahead of the semifinals, VYPE DFW was able to talk to coach Jones about this special group of athletes:
What would you say has made the biggest impact for your team's success this season?
"The biggest impact for our team's success this season has been having nine team members who contribute- offensively and defensively- in one way or another in every game. Moreover, all nine team members recognize that no one person is bigger than the team."
Do you have a mantra that you consistently use to help motivate your athletes?
"The first thing that comes to mind here is when I tell my team to finish- finish everything. Every spring, every layup, every missed shot... finish everything. Because when you start developing that muscle memory, to just finish everything becomes more simple. Not just on the basketball court, but in life."
Tell me a little bit about your senior. How has her leadership played a role in your team's success?
"This season we have one senior- Brooke Dial. Brooke is the matriarch of our team and the team follows her lead and simply adores her. I could not be more proud of her. She works hard every practice and game and it shows by way of the numbers she has put up this season:
Brooke has surpassed the 1,000 point scoring this season. Her overall season stats are: 20 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg, 3 spg. In district play, she averaged 18 ppg, 7 rpg, and 3 spg. In playoffs Brooke has averaged 19 ppg."
Are you doing anything special to help prepare the team for semifinals?
"We are following the same routine we have used all season. We are watching film, and working on key principles (such as defense, box out and rebound, and shooting). We are focusing more on having a 'scout' team help us prepare for our matchup."
What has been one of the best thing you have learned about your athletes this season?
" One of the best things I have learned about my athletes this season is that they are all fighters. We have had some tough games this season (regular season, tournaments, district, and playoffs). In some of those battles, the team could have given up but they did not. They never go away- they fight until the final buzzer sounds. I am very proud of them for that."
Filled with passion and ready to continue getting the job done for their program, the Panthers are gearing up to face off against Bishop Lynch in the semifinals. The game is set for Thursday, February 23 at University High School with a 6 p.m. tip-off time.