CEDAR HILL GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM REFLECTS ON HISTORIC SEASON
It’s amazing that one regular season game can change the entire trajectory of a season, but that was the case for the Cedar Hill High School Girls Basketball Team.
The Lady Longhorns (31-10) reached the UIL Regional Championship Game for the first time in 10 years and only the third time in program history, with a 56-54 to Duncanville last Saturday in Fort Worth. That was the same Duncanville team that defeated the Longhorns, 64-42, last November.
But Cedar Hill’s season changed for the better on the evening of February 11.
They were visiting district opponent, South Grand Prairie, in the regular season finale for SGP’s Senior Night. SGP had defeated the Lady Longhorns at Cedar Hill the previous month and had upset them in the playoffs in 2019.
“You don’t usually beat a good team on their Senior Night,” Cedar Hill Head Girls Basketball Coach Nicole Collins said. “It was a must win game for us. The girls came out with a sense of purpose, and from the opening tip, we were in control.”
The Lady Longhorns won, 57-51, to earn the #3 seed in District 6A-7. That propelled the team to low-scoring single digit playoff victories over Richardson, Denton Guyer, South Grand Prairie and Wolfforth Frenship, before the Duncanville loss.
“When anyone thinks Cedar Hill, they think defense,” Collins said. “The pressure we bring is something that nobody in the area imitates. Defense is the side that, no matter what, you can always depend on it.”
The Lady Longhorns graduate six seniors and will return six underclassmen in 2020-21. Senior Power Forward/Center Anzhané Hutton has committed to play for Howard University, an NCAA Division I school in Washington D.C. She plans to study International Business and Finance. Hutton scored a team-high 22 points in the Regional Championship Game.
“The team had talks daily about grit and determination,” Hutton said. “We had a lot of heart and never gave up.”
Said senior guard Makalah Robinson, “I like how we faced a lot of adversity. We stayed in the gym day in and day out. We faced a lot of good competition.”
Between 2015-2019, the Cedar Hill Girls Basketball Team’s season ended in the third round of the playoffs.
“I knew we could do it from the start, but it would be tough,” said Senior Guard Kyla Howard, a four-year varsity player. “We had a chance to come together as a team.”
Junior guard Portia Adams said she believes that the Lady Longhorns will be “better and more prepared” to make a run to the State Tournament next season.
Collins graduated from Baylor University in 2003 where she played basketball for the legendary Kim Mulkey, whom she credits with shaping her as a coach.
“What you see on the sideline is what she is like all the time,” Collins said.
Collins was an assistant coach at Cedar Hill when the Lady Longhorns reached the State Semifinals in 2010.
“If I had to define the 2019-20 Team, I would say they just had a determination about them when it was absolutely needed,” Collins said. “Every year, we take a step forward and pick up where we left off.”