Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Girls 5A, Region I: MacArthur earns long-awaited trip to state
FORT WORTH — The buzzer finally sounded, and this was what they’d desired for the last year. Alexis Jones, Irving MacArthur coach Suzie Oelschlegel and others hugged.
They would clip the net in a few minutes, the strands a tangible coronation of their 55-40 Region I championship victory Saturday against Midland.
A year ago the dream collapsed early. Odyssey Sims, the senior, the star, the point guard, tumbled to the court in pain at the beginning of the game, her ACL injured.
MacArthur stayed close but couldn’t defeat Cedar Hill. It wouldn’t qualify for Austin.
In the weeks after that loss, into the summer, into the first practices of the fall, the MacArthur girls remembered that game, that feeling. They vowed not to let the opportunity slip.
“Sometimes when something is so close and you don’t get it,” Oelschlegel said, “it makes you hungrier.”
MacArthur won the way it has most of the year. Jones starred. She pulled up for 3-pointers, drove the lane and dished to teammates on the wing, finishing with 29 points.
But it’s never been all about her. Khoria Newman pitched in with 15, scoring on an array of jumpers and layups. The defense clamped down on Kelsey Hoppel, preventing her from getting too many open looks, and kept Paris Webb from jump-starting the offense.
“We’re not a one-person team like everybody thinks,” Jones said.
Jones shared quick hugs, half-hugs even, after the game ended. Her mind clearly wandered elsewhere.
As much as she and Irving MacArthur wanted to advance to Austin, they know the real excitement begins next week.
“We have two more games,” she said.