Cowgirls wrap up regular season defeating Wildcats in final district game

Coppell opens playoffs Monday against Allen


Nashad Mohamed

Coppell senior guard Jules LaMendola drives to the basket against Plano. The Cowgirls defeated the Wildcats, 85-66, at CHS Arena on Tuesday night.

Ava Johnson, Staff Writer

It is Senior Night for the Coppell girls basketball team. The rain pours outside, but Coppell High School Arena houses an unforgettable warmth. Nostalgia fills the eyes of players and parents, the crowd watches tentatively, trying to remember each seemingly unimportant detail as the buzzer blows and the Coppell seniors huddle together at the arena for the last time. 

On Tuesday night, the Coppell girls basketball team defeated Plano, 85-66, in a win that they hope will propel them forward as playoffs begin.

The Cowgirls (33-3) play Allen in the Class 6A Region I bi-district playoffs on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Carrollton Creekview. 

Heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Cowgirls were keeping a close eye on Plano junior Salese Blow, one of the Wildcat’s highest-scoring players. 

For their defensive tactic against Blow, Murphy explains that the Cowgirls attempted to force her left every chance they got, as well as rotating several guards on her in order to try to wear her down. Despite the Cowgirls’ effort, Blow lived up to her reputation, impressively scoring half of Plano’s 66 points in the game.

According to Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy, the time off from school and practice due to the recent ice storm posed challenges for the team heading into tonight’s game.

Murphy described how the Cowgirls had entered a shooting slump in practice and over the course of the past few games, so the team finalizing a dominant lead and finishing their shots was a relief to both the players and Murphy. 

Coppell senior guard Waverly Hassman and Coppell sophomore guard Londyn Harper greet each other during player introductions. The Cowgirls played Plano on Tuesday night at CHS Arena, defeating the Wildcats 85-66. (Nashad Mohamed)

The Coppell seniors set the tone of the game early on, radiating an electrifying energy throughout the humid air of the arena, echoing the legacy they will leave on the program for years to come.

The Cowgirls scored 27 points in the first quarter alone, dropping dimes left and right as five 3-pointers swished through the net, the crowd reaching a deafening level after each one. Coppell continued to drop threes throughout the game, ending with a total of 14 3-pointers. 

Deep in the third quarter, Coppell is ahead 62-51 with less than a minute remaining on the clock, the team frantically searching for an open shot. The clock ticks down: 45 seconds left, then 30, then 10. Finally, the ball finds its way into the hands of Coppell senior guard Macey Mercer, as she launches a shot from the right corner of the court. The ball magnetizes itself to the basket, the net rippling with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock. 

The clock reads 1:30 in the fourth quarter when all of the seniors are subbed out, underclassmen the only players remaining on the court. The seniors take their seat on the bench, breathless from giving their all to the program and to the game as they watch the legacy they’ve left imprinted to come to life.

“Seeing that 15 girls can come together and decide that we’re going to make this team great and be the best Coppell girls basketball team to walk through the school has a big impact on me,” Coppell senior guard Waverly Hassman said. “It has an impact on everyone, knowing that [if] you set your mind to something, you can do it, and when we all rally together there’s power in numbers.”

Prior to the game, the team held a ceremony to honor the seniors and their dedication over the years. Each player was announced onto the court, supported by their friends and family, their Cowgirl basketball family watching from the sideline. Each senior ended with their imparted words of wisdom to future Cowgirls, several underclassmen fighting back tears.

“I look up to each and every one of them in different ways,” Coppell sophomore guard Landry Sherrer said. “They’ve paved the way for me to become a leader on the team next year. It’s a new role I’m going to have to step into but it’s something I’m not too worried about because they’ve shown me how to do it.”

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