With an incredible regular season under their belt and a continued hot streak through the playoffs, the Frisco Liberty Lady Redhawks have found themselves at the biggest stage in Texas high school basketball: the UIL State Tournament. As the team prepares for a strong game on Thursday night, VYPE DFW dives into their season and how they got to this point!
Beginning their season with non-district victories over Frisco Panther Creek, North Forney, Frisco Reedy, Denton Braswell, DeSoto, Westlake, Riverdale Ridge, and more, the team was able to put forth an effort to showcase their ability to overcome any challenges that might get in their way. Proving their ability to learn from every moment on the court, this team has been a special one from the start.
Keyera Roseby, Aaliyah Williams, Judith Aluga, Lilian Johnson, Kathryn Murphy, Anaiah Warrior, and other talented athletes helped lead the Lady Redhawks to an undefeated 14-0 district record with strong victories over Lebanon Trail (49-7), Frisco Heritage (49-17), Walnut Grove (50-21), Frisco Emerson (54-17), and others. With the strong district run, it came as no surprise that the team secured such a strong entry to the playoffs.
Once in the playoffs, the Lady Redhawks defeated Carrollton Creekview, Hillcrest, Reedy, McKinney North, and Princeton en route to the state tournament. Geared up for success, the Lady Redhawks are prepared to take on a talented Richmond Randle (30-8) team. Be sure you catch this team in action as they look to secure their spot in the state title game! Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
On the Texas high school tennis scene, there have been few teams that have experienced the meteoric rise of Hamshire-Fannett.
That is all thanks to the actions of head coach Hélène Czudek.
Following her own playing career which saw her compete on the D1 collegiate level at Lamar University, the French-born Czudek certainly had her work cut out for her when she took over the Longhorns tennis program in 2016.
"We started with nothing, so it was a challenging project to say the least," she said. "We had three courts in terrible shape, the nets were ripped apart and falling to the ground from previous hurricanes and lack of funds. So, I would purchase my own equipment, balls and hunt for nets that other coaches would toss out to use them for us, because they would be in better shape that what we had."
Given the circumstances, it would be a daunting task for any coach to undertake. However, that wouldn't stop this particular one from rejuvenating the team from the ground up.
"During my first interview, the principal told me at the time that there were eight people on the team and that there were not much of a program," said Czudek. "I knew it was a huge challenge and opportunity for me to do something big. Fast forward to 2020, and we had 45 players in the team practicing on two courts which was hectic, but incredibly fun."
2023-24 Hamshire-Fannett Tennis
"Once COVID hit, all sports were of course cancelled, which prompted me to eventually create a second, and even third program for high school and middle school. Now, we just won our seventh district title in the Fall and are consistently in the top-15 schools in the state."
After achieving "lucky number 7" district titles, Czudek made the difficult decision to retire from the program she built, due to the fact that she's moving to New York to be with her husband.
"I said my goodbyes to the players and family that I have known for years to tell them the big news," she said. "I have grown very attached to my Hamshire-Fannett family and goodbyes were extremely difficult, but I am confident that my assistant coach will continue our legacy. I am very grateful for all my years at Hamshire-Fannett and the support I had from the community."
Coach Andrea Islas now takes the reins of the program, as the Longhorns will look to claim their eighth-consecutive district title, in line of the legacy established by coach Czudek.
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