A year ago, the Jones girls basketball team was getting ready to play in the state tournament for the first time in school history.
“We’re sitting on the bus, outside the building, and we’re not allowed in," said Tirzah Moore, a senior center.
“We’re literally greeted at the door with a sign, the state tournament has been postponed," said Jones girls basketball coach Jenni Holbrook.
One year ago, COVID-19 took the air out of the ball for so many teams.
As we know, the tournaments were eventually canceled, and the Lady Longhorns' first state tournament berth ended without ever stepping foot on the court.
“We didn’t unpack our bags to go to the state tournament until after October, until we started practicing. Finally, we just had to let it go and just realize this was a new year, new team," Holbrook said.
New team, but same results for the Lady Longhorns, who are getting ready to make their state tournament debut, again this year.
“After we won the area, everything just lifted off my shoulders," said sophomore guard Boston Berry.
But getting there was no layup.
Jones didn’t play their first game until January after nearly the whole team got COVID, but they still got into the tournament with a record of 15-1.
“It just shows how strong everyone on our team is," senior forward Trinity Moore said. "Not giving up or quitting.”
The 2021 Lady Longhorns are playing for the past and present, remembering their 9 seniors from last year who didn’t get this second chance, and anticipating a state tournament appearance that goes beyond the parking lot.
"It’s going to be a feeling of satisfaction I think," said Holbrook.
“We didn’t get to walk through the doors last year," Berry said. "This year we get to and it’s definitely going to be surreal.”
Jones takes on Hugo at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the state quarterfinals.