HOUSTON - Huffman is heading to the UIL State Tournament.
It is not a dream, it is surely not a typo, it is really happening for the No. 11 Falcons following a 62-56 victory over Silsbee in the Region III-4A Championship on Friday night in La Porte.
"From never making it past the third round and now heading to the 6th and state semi-final is awesome, it is surreal," Huffman senior point guard Jacob Harvey said.
Junior power forward Grey Soileau added: "It's crazy-making history especially when our program never went past the regional quarterfinals. We have been playing together for so long and we knew we had the ability to be great! Now we just have to focus on winning the next game and getting closer to that ring!"
This marks the first trip to the UIL State Tournament for the Falcons in program history. Previously, Huffman had never made it past the Regional Quarterfinals - making it there in 2019, 2017, and 2005, but no farther.
So, where does the fuel for these Falcons come from?
In 2020, following a Regional Quarterfinals appearance the year prior, the Falcons' playoff run was short-lived falling in the first round to Hamshire-Fannett, ending their season at 30-4.
"We took that personally and ever since we have been playing harder and with more hunger every game," Soileau said.
Fast forward to November 13 - the season-opener for Huffman - and it came against Class 6A Grand Oaks. The Falcons won 70-60 and from there they rolled.
"Our first game against Grand Oaks really set the tone for this season," Harvey said. "We all knew how terrible it felt to lose first round last year so we all knew we had something to prove."
From that game, Huffman rattled off 17-straight wins, not losing in November or December, and then suffered its lone loss of the season in district play to Hardin-Jefferson in January.
Once in the playoffs, the Falcons got over their first-round woes from a year ago by beating West Orange-Stark, 59-48. Then it was a win over Brookshire Royal, 77-42, to get to that third round. With a chance to make history, Huffman did so by downing Lumberton 68-34 to advance to its first-ever Regional Semifinals.
Carthage awaited the Falcons in the Regional Semis and they beat the Bulldogs 48-37 to set up a meeting with Silsbee - the very team that knocked Huffman out of the Regional Quarters back in 2019.
With that in mind, that made the six-point victory on Friday even that much sweeter for Harvey.
"It feels good especially since they were the ones who beat us in the third round my sophomore year," Harvey said. "So, to beat them this year to get to the state tournament is great."
Next up for Huffman is Boerne in the UIL Class 4A State Semifinals on Monday. With a win against the Greyhounds, the Falcons will soar into their first-ever state title game.
And have a chance to bring a basketball state title to Huffman.
"For this to be my last year playing for Huffman it really has been incredible to have a run like this," Harvey said. "We are confident in what we can do and are ready to keep shocking people."
Huffman, however, returns four starters. Shortstop Lindsey Gonzalez (St. Thomas) will be one of the top bats after hitting .315 last year. Kylen Padgett and Christin Haygood will be the forces in the circle. Padgett was 5-0 with a 0.636 ERA, while Haygood had 62 strikeouts with a 4-2 mark. Hagen Pike (.396) will also bring back her big bat to the lineup. Lainie Jensen (Ottawa University) is another name to remember. A key to success this year is to "continue to play as a family".