New Staff. New Team. Same Championships.

New Staff. New Team. Same Championships.

by Steve Gamel

When Skip Townsend and wife, Sammye, retired after the Argyle girls basketball team won its third straight Class 4A title last year, it ushered in a new era for the program. Not only were the Lady Eagles looking for a new coach, but graduation hit the roster extremely hard.

For many, it appeared Argyle’s dominance in the sport might be over for a while as they rebuilt.

Enter new coach Chance Westmoreland and a fired up new cast of characters, who clearly had other ideas for Argyle’s future. Not only were the Lady Eagles (35-7) still a tough nut to crack, but they went on to win their fourth straight state title on March 3.

“I think everyone is still on Cloud Nine,” Westmoreland said of his team’s 60-41 win over San Antonio Veterans Memorial at the Alamodome in San Antonio. “You have to think about how hard these girls have worked; they put in a lot of time even outside of practice time. It’s very gratifying to look back on this season.”

Westmoreland took over the program during the offseason but was certainly no stranger to success as he had won two state titles at Brock High School. But he appeared to have quite the uphill climb with just two returning starters in Gabby Standifer and Brooklyn Carl.

Former stars Vivian Gray (Fort Lewis), Madison Ralston (Emporia State) and Jocelyn Pierce (Texas A&M-Commerce) were all off to bigger and better things in college. That left Westmoreland with having to make up the rest of the lineup with former JV players and bit players from last year’s squad who rarely saw the court.

In fact, one starter, Sydney Standifer, was a freshman.

All the Lady Eagles did was rattle off an impressive regular season that saw them rack up 28 wins and repeat as the District 9-4A champions before picking up playoff wins over Dallas Carter, Aubrey, Dallas Lincoln, Gilmer, and Sanger en route to the state tournament.

After beating Houston Wheatley in the state semifinals, Argyle dominated Veterans Memorial. Sydney Standifer led the way with 22 points and four assists and was named the state tournament MVP. Combined with Gabby Standifer and Rhyle McKinney, that trio combined to score 56 of Argyle’s 60 points.

Gabby Standifer scored 14 points, and McKinney added 20 points and six rebounds.

“If I had been hired and we had a bunch of starters back, winning another state title still would have been special. But for us to implement JV kids and kids who didn’t play last year makes it even better,” Westmoreland said. “It was a new staff and a new team. We weren’t as big as before, so we had to get creative with what we were doing, and everyone bought into their roles.”

The best part is that Argyle is set up for future success now that they’ll face the opposite of last offseason with the bulk of its lineup returning for next year.

“The thing that impresses me the most is these girls went out and took advantage of their opportunity to win a state title this season,” Westmoreland said. “It’s not easy to do that, and you never know what will happen each year. We are going to try and keep winning, though.”

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