Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Another title next year? Pantherettes stocked for 2013-14 season
AUSTIN — With a 70-game winning streak in hand, Duncanville could very well be the preseason favorite for another state title in 2013-14.
The Pantherettes were hardly challenged during their record-setting 42-0 season, which culminated in Saturday’s 59-36 victory against Cibolo Steele in the 5A championship game.
Duncanville will lose three starters in seniors Kiara Perry, Tamara Washington and Antoina Robinson — one more than the two starters it lost after the 2012 title.
But, as usual, Duncanville returns a bevy of talent well suited for another run at state.
“I’m so glad I’ve got these juniors back,” Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan said. “I’ve got some good freshmen coming up and kids back at home we’re going to work with. They’ll continue to stay hungry, that’s for sure.”
Junior shooting guard Ariel Atkins, who overcame three early fouls in the championship game, scored 13 points in the victory. She was the star throughout Duncanville’s run to the finals, scoring 29 points in wins against No. 5 Lubbock Coronado and No. 3 League City Clear Springs.
Atkins averaged 20.5 points in Duncanville’s seven playoff wins. She said the team will enjoy its championship for a week, then get to work on a 2014 state title.
“One week,” Atkins said. “That’s it.”
Also returning next year will be point guard Tasia Foman, who entered the playoffs averaging 11.2 points and 2.9 assists per game. The junior added seven points in the championship game, along with two assists.
Atkins is ranked 10th among guards in the 2014 class by ESPN’s HoopGurlz, and Foman is ranked 37th.
Self-Morgan doesn’t need a whole lot more to be successful.
The veteran coach did not dig too deep into her bench last season, when she started five guards, and the same was true during the 2012-13 encore. Senior forwards Shannon Franklin and Destiny Means were the only players to appear in more than 26 of Duncanville’s 35 regular season games.
Duncanville was the first 5A team to win three straight state titles from 1988-1990. Next year, it will try to become the first team to pull it off twice.
“We have to keep the same mentality,” Atkins said. “We’re going to have some younger players and we’ll be older. They’ll be looking up to us. And coach is going to expect even more from us as seniors than she does now.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.