Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Who are you calling rinky-dink? Insulting taunts add fuel to Triple A Academy girls' fire
Daryl Horton and the Triple A Academy girls basketball team aren’t too concerned about how they’re perceived by coaches and teams across the state.
The first-year head coach is leading a charter school that’s competing in its first season as a UIL member. Despite the program’s inexperience — and the loss of three bona fide standout players — Triple A Academy became the first charter to reach state in any sport that features a four-team tournament.
Horton said Triple A’s victories against larger, established programs didn’t always sit well with opposing coaches and fans.
“We played one particular school,” Horton said, “and I don’t want to say their name, but during the course of us beating them, their coach says, ‘That’s why I hate playing these rinky-dink charter schools.’ I didn’t say anything. We just kept doing what we were doing.”
That’s the attitude Triple A has taken toward its detractors. And so far, it’s working.
Triple A has amassed a 28-5 record and will face two-time state champion Smyer in a Class A Division I state semifinal at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. The winner will face Martin’s Mill or Snook in the state championship game at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
For the Triple A players, being called a “rinky-dink charter school” is simply more motivation.
“When someone says that, it gets me pumped up,” sophomore post player Imari Bell said.
Bell is part of a trio on the team that refers to itself as the Killer B’s. Bell and juniors Amber Browning and Kessha Bracy are Triple A’s statistical and motivational leaders.
To further demonstrate the confidence that flows through the group, the Killer B’s refer to themselves not as sophomores or juniors, but members of the 2014 and 2015 signing classes. All three harbor hopes of playing at the college level.
None of the players has college offers yet, but that could change after they get involved with AAU basketball this summer.
Triple A has a seven-player roster, and four are averaging 10 points or more. Defense, though, has carried Triple A through the playoffs.
It’s averaging just 38 points against in four games and gave up two points in the fourth quarter of a 39-27 win against Goldthwaite.
Triple A’s numbers require Bell, Browning and Bracy to play nearly all 32 minutes of a game, so endurance and conditioning have been paramount.
“We work harder than every team, and we’re in shape,” Bell said. “That’s how we got this far.”
Triple A has managed to put together a successful campaign despite the loss of Alexandria Gulley, Christalah Lyons and Tiara Davenport. Gulley, who committed to Baylor as an eighth-grader, and Lyons are now at Skyline, and Davenport is at San Antonio Johnson.
The expectations at Triple A never changed, though.
“The first thing we talked about was a state championship,” Horton said. “That was our goal from the first day.”
To accomplish that goal, Triple A will need to beat a Smyer team that won state titles in 2010 and 2011. In the other semifinal, Martin’s Mill has been to the state tournament every year since 2006 and won two championships.
Triple A has already made UIL history with its appearance in the state tournament, but it’s not done yet.
“We started from the bottom,” Bracy said, “and now we’re here.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN