Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Team mentality makes Duncanville popular pick to repeat as girls basketball state champions
DUNCANVILLE — Cathy Self-Morgan has coached teams with selfish players who try to do everything.
Those are the teams, she said, that sat home during the regional tournament.
Self-Morgan, in her 12th season at Duncanville, didn’t have that problem with last year’s 5A state champions. Nearly every player on the floor was a college recruit, but their personal goals never came before the team.
Most of that group will be back this season, and another state title seems within reach. Duncanville is the preseason No. 1 team in the state, according to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
“They want to win it again,” Self-Morgan said. “This group is unselfish. They’ll make the extra pass, and they’ll get it done.”
Every Duncanville starter who steps onto the court in Tuesday’s opener against Mansfield Lake Ridge is set to play basketball in college.
Junior guards Ariel Atkins and Tasia Foman are uncommitted, but both have Division I offers. They are joined in the backcourt by senior guard Kiara Perry, who is committed to SMU.
Destiny Means is a 6-2 senior forward who is committed to UT-San Antonio, and Antoina Robinson is a 6-1 senior post committed to Arkansas-Little Rock.
All of those starters contributed to last year’s state championship run.
“Our program is about team,” Atkins said. “Everything we do is team ball.”
Duncanville’s run through last year’s postseason makes a compelling argument for its team mentality. It beat its playoff opponents by an average of 24 points.
Duncanville defeated Spring Dekaney, 69-31, in the championship game. It was the most lopsided 5A girls state title game.
For all that’s similar, Duncanville will look different to opponents. Self-Morgan started five guards a year ago, running an up-tempo offense and baseline-to-baseline defense.
The addition of forwards Means and Robinson to the starting lineup will create a more diverse offense.
Duncanville won’t be as fast, but it will still be potent.
“It changes the game, gives us the height in the paint,” Self-Morgan said. “Last year was chaotic and lots of fun. Now we’re not as fast, but I’ve got some subs who are developing and I can put in and go back to what we did last year.”Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.
NEWS AND NOTES
Skyline standout ineligible
Alexandria Gulley, a 5-10 sophomore point guard who committed to Baylor as an eighth-grader, will play for the Skyline junior varsity team this season, coach Cassandra McCurdy said.
Gulley transferred from Triple A Academy after last season and was ruled ineligible to compete for Skyline’s varsity.
Gulley averaged 24.2 points for Triple A Academy as a freshman.
Lewisville battling injuries
Lewisville has three returning starters, but all three will miss the start of the season with injuries.
Point guard Jada Butts, a TCU pledge, is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to return in early December.
Junior forward Monisha Neal has several stress fractures, coach Charlotte Jones said, and will return in mid-December.
Anita Udabor, a forward, is recovering from back surgery and should be ready by mid-November, Jones said.
“We’re just trying to hold down the fort until we get these ladies back,” Jones said. “I know we’ll take some hits, but if we stay healthy and focused, we’ll get better.”
Trinity coach nears milestone
Euless Trinity coach Sue Cannon is closing in on her 1,000th career victory.
Cannon enters the 2012-13 season with 998 wins. She is in her 41st season as a head coach and 26th at Trinity.