Written by Matt Wixon
After breaking Lincoln's 122- district-game win streak, Bryan Adams keeps the pressure going
A banner hanging in the Bryan Adams gymnasium lists the school’s 11 district championships in girls basketball. The banner is large and impressive, but it’s also a little dusty.
Maybe because it hasn’t needed an update since 1996. But this year’s Bryan Adams team, which is 22-3 overall and 10-0 in District 12-4A, is poised to end the title drought.
“This is a special group of girls,” Bryan Adams coach Darren Eubanks said.
Special enough to hand Lincoln, a three-time state champion and the 4A runner-up last season, its first district loss in 10 years. Lincoln had won 122 consecutive district games entering its Jan. 10 game against Bryan Adams, which it had beaten by an average of 29 points the last two seasons.
This time, Bryan Adams opened up an early lead and pulled away for a 64-55 win.
“It feels like a burden was lifted,” said junior guard/forward Jerice Fears.
A burden was lifted and was a window of opportunity opened. The victory over Lincoln, which came on the same night that Richardson ended the Skyline girls team’s 134-game district winning streak, put Bryan Adams alone atop 12-4A.
It also pushed Bryan Adams up in the 4A state rankings, where it is now No. 10. Eubanks said he tries to avoid talking about the state ranking with the players, but acknowledged that it was good recognition for the school and community.
It could also help build a winning tradition at Bryan Adams, which advanced to the 5A state semifinals in 1999.
“I think it’s good for the future, for people to want to be at BA,” said Eubanks, who’s in his third year as coach. “We want the younger kids that are coming in to see that and be proud of it.”
Those younger kids could soon see a new entry on the championship banner, but Bryan Adams has to play Lincoln (14-7, 9-1) one more time. The regular-season finale on Feb. 4 could determine whether Bryan Adams will win the district outright or share the title. Lincoln is the only district foe that Bryan Adams has beaten by less than 14 points.
Bryan Adams, which also beat state-ranked Arlington Seguin early in the season, has overwhelmed most opponents with its depth. The guard-oriented team is loaded with juniors, including three with double-figure scoring averages: shooting guard Alexxus Gilbert (13.8), guard-forward Fabrianna Dixon (13.1) and Fears (12.5). Point guard Dabrasia Baty, who averages nearly six assists per game, is also a junior.
They all played varsity as freshmen during the 2011-12 season, which is when Bryan Adams earned its first playoff victory in 10 years. They’ve grown up a lot since then, Eubanks said, and they’ve grown closer.
“We’re as close off the court as we are on the court,” Gilbert said.
They’re on the court a lot. The players are gym rats, their coach said. They love basketball, want to get better and are willing to do the work it takes to make this a special season.
It already is special with the victory over Lincoln. But Bryan Adams, which has lost in the second round of the playoffs the last two years, has bigger plans.
“We never discussed Lincoln,” Eubanks said. “We talk about the playoffs. That’s the discussion. Hopefully, we’ll be focusing on playing longer in the postseason.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.