If you have to bow out of the Class 6A girls basketball playoffs, losing to the returning state champions and the favorite to repeat makes it a little easier to stomach.
The sting is also quelled by the fact that Keller also had just registered its longest run in the playoffs in the program’s history.
One of the biggest wins was the regional quarterfinal victory over Arlington Bowie. The Lady Vols were 31-3 coming into the game with Keller. The game was a 54-44 win for Keller, propelling them into the semifinals.
Once the mental dust had settled for Keller head coach Doug Sporrer, he reflected on the achievements by his squad.
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“It’s pretty cool to get 20 wins, and we got 30,” said Sporrer, whose Lady Indians finished the season 30-6.
Of the six losses, as it turns out, four of the teams are still playing in the postseason.
Amid those 30 wins was an undefeated district season, continuing a 25-0 district streak which started after the district opener of 2015.
Keller is coming off its third straight district championship and appearnce in the Region I semifinals.
That semifinals matchup with Duncanville offered Keller one more opportunity to achieve more than ever expected. Unfortunately for the Lady Indians, it resulted in a 52-26 loss.
“When we saw the brackets, we knew that to make the regional tournament, it wouldn’t be easy to get there,” Sporrer said.
In retrospection of the season, Sporrer said the element that made this team so special was its total unselfishness.
“They didn’t care who’d get the shot,” Sporrer said.
Certainly, the team will miss the six seniors who have helped establish that style of play.
Among those seniors, Megan Vincent and Ryanne Johnson may be difficult to replace, as they have been a part of the varsity program for all four years.
Other seniors Kaitlyn Guillory, Kayla Guillory, Alli Powell and Madison Tavarez are part of the Senior Six that was a part of three district titles and compiled a 50-4 district record over the last four years.
Of the four returners for next season’s varsity roster, one of note, Mallory Lockhart, will likely be expected to set the tone.
“We’ll have to rebuild a little bit,” Sporrer said, but Keller has worked with younger players in the past to forge successful seasons.
The long season should help build a foundation for the whole Keller program. It’s been months of working and playing as a group.
Sporrer said he joked with the team that when the season first started, the Chicago Cubs were in the World Series and now they’re in spring training.