DeSoto Lady Eagles Are Ready To Defend Their State Title
For a long time, Andrea Robinson has known what it’s like to be coaching a team everyone wants to beat. This season, however, there’s a little something extra to go along with that feeling.
Her DeSoto Lady Eagles are the defending Class 6A state champions – the first time in school history, in fact. And they are entering the postseason in defense of that title as the top-ranked team in the state.
“You have to learn how to maintain. We were hunting last year and now this year we’re being hunted – but we’re still hunting also,” Robinson said. “We won the title, now learning how to maintain is how you build a legacy.”
The cornerstone of that legacy are the four senior returning starters from last season, power forward/center Tionna Heron, power forward Sa’Myah Smith, shooting guard/point guard Jamia Harris and small forward/power forward Amina Muhammed.
Robinson and the Lady Eagles, ranked fourth in the nation by MaxPreps, know the road back to Austin is a treacherous one. Within their own district are two other top-10 teams, Cedar Hill and Duncanville. The Lady Eagles swept both of those foes in league play, with both games against Duncanville being decided by four points each.
“I think it’s going to come down to us and Duncanville. I think the winner of our third game has a great chance to win state,” Robinson said. “But Cedar Hill is young and hungry, and that’s always dangerous.”
Cedar Hill No. 5 In The State
Cedar Hill made a major breakthrough when the Lady Longhorns upset Duncanville recently, climbing to as high as No. 5 in the state.
The bottom line, Robinson said, is there is simply no chance to catch a breath in what is called the “District of Doom.” But that is also a big reason her team and the others from it who reach the playoffs are more than ready.
It is a regular occurrence that when a team from that league is eliminated it’s another district foe who knocked them out.
“We’re used to it. Our girls are conditioned for it, but I think that’s what separates us from other teams across the country. Those kids aren’t used to seeing this competition night-in and night-out,” Robinson said.
In fact, you have to go back to the third round of the 2020 playoffs to find the last time a team from Texas defeated the Lady Eagles on the court (they lost a forfeit to Cedar Hill last season). That was a 47-43 loss to Duncanville, which went on to win the state championship that season.
Playing Out of State
In preparation for defense of their state title, Robinson beefed up the Lady Eagles’ pre-district schedule – even more than it had been in past years, and it has always been one of the toughest in the state.
“We went really ridiculous this year, but we also balance it out,” she said. “We played a lot of out-of-state games. And we even played a team from Canada, they could shoot the ball.”
Their non-district schedule included opponents from Florida, Maryland, California, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
Oh, and there was also the side note of Robinson getting her 500th career victory this season, though Robinson wasn’t really keeping track.
“I keep up with the losses,” she said with a chuckle. “My assistant was keeping up with it, though. She was talking about it on Twitter all the time.”
The number Robinson is focused on, however, is 2 – as in a second state championship.
“It will be a nice accomplishment, that’s for sure,” she said. “We’ve got a long way to go, still, but we are certainly capable of getting it done.”
Other area teams to watch as playoffs begin:
6A – Cedar Hill (5), South Grand Prairie (6), Duncanville (7) all in state’s top 10.
5A – Mansfield Timberview is 11th in state, Red Oak is No. 22.
4A – Midlothian Heritage is No. 5 in the state.
6A – Defending state champion Duncanville, No. 2 in state and No. 2 in the nation; South Grand Prairie is 17th in state.
5A – Lancaster (2), Mansfield Summit (6), Mansfield Timberview (7) and Mansfield Legacy (9) are all top 10 in state; Red Oak is ranked 18th.
4A – Wilmer-Hutchins is No. 17 in state.