"A lot of people didn't believe in us over the past two years," said University junior guard Desirae Mathis. And, looking at the Lady Trojans, I'd agree.
University's girls basketball team hadn't been to the playoffs in two seasons, had a losing record going into district play, and even after getting 8 wins there, they were still sub .500. Now? They defeated Nacogdoches and are in round two of the state playoffs.
"Everyone is kind of opening their eyes like wow, those University girls are showing out," said junior Elaina Tate.
Both players were their for University's earlier run, but both agree it wasn't like this.
"We were going there just to watch," said Tate.
Head coach Trey Lloyd has led the Lady Trojans for the last seven years. Even he admits it wasn't easy.
"When I first came, we weren't very good," said Lloyd, "Every year I told them, 'look up at those banners.' This school was good at one point and we want to get to that point again."
That point is now. University only beat the Lady Dragons by seven, but it wasn't that close.
"I felt like we were the better team," said Lloyd.
His athletic bunch runs the floor, plays defense, and when their shots are falling? You better watch out. Seeing this success means something a little more for Lloyd than some other coaches.
"This is my alma mater. You get girls who play hard for you because they care about you."
And if you doubt the truth behind that statement?
"Coach Lloyd is not the type to show his feelings a lot, but to see the smile on his face after we won that game is worth a million bucks," shared Tate again.
With other big name schools touting traditional power, some folks counted out University. That's okay. They like their underdog role just fine.
"We definitely want to make that trip down to San Antonio," said Lloyd, "I know that may be far-fetched, but we believe we can get there."
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