Still The Champs: Lady Eagles Capture 5th Straight State Title

Still The Champs: Lady Eagles Capture 5th Straight State Title

Still The Champs: Lady Eagles Capture 5th Straight State Title

by Steve Gamel

 

What else would you call what the Argyle girls basketball team has created over the last five years? Since losing in the state tournament in 2014, the Lady Eagles rattled off five straight state titles wins – including last month’s 49-41 victory over Sour Lake Hardin-Jefferson. Keeping that streak alive seemed improbable coming into the year, but at this point, it’s a safe bet this program will be at the top of the Class 4A mountain for many years to come. “All year we were doubted, and these girls played with a chip on their shoulder while at the same time going out there and playing good basketball,” Argyle coach Chance Westmoreland said. “I’m just so proud of these girls. They deserve this.”

To put Argyle’s streak of championships into perspective, the Lady Eagles just became just the third girls basketball team in UIL history to win five straight titles, joining Nazareth and Brock. To join such illustrious company, they had to beat each of the state’s four top-ranked teams to close out the year (No. 1 Canyon, No. 2 Levelland, No. 4 Dallas Lincoln, and No. 3 Hardin-Jefferson). Perhaps the most impressive of those wins was over Joe Lombard’s Canyon squad. Lombard has won 19 state titles during his more than 40-year career.

Oh yeah, and star sophomore Sydney Standifer didn’t even play this year because of a season-ending knee injury this summer. Standifer, who is committed to Clemson, was named MVP of the 2018 state title game when Argyle won its fourth crown in a row. Stepping up in a big way this year in Standifer’s absence was junior Rhyle McKinney, who became a dominant offensive weapon and turned her efforts up three notches once the playoffs started. McKinney scored 25 points, including 21 in the first half, in Argyle’s win in the title game.

“When we lost Sydney, I felt like we were still good enough to be in the mix, but I also knew how difficult the playoff route was going to be for us,” Westmoreland said. “We had to switch things up and play better defense, but then Rhyle emerged.” The scary part is that Argyle appears primed to win a sixth title next year. Not only is McKinney back, but Standifer will create a dynamic few teams will be able to match up with. Brooklyn Carl, Kiley Lavelle, Abby Williams, and Bailey Timmons complete a very dynamic team.

“It was an exciting year for these girls and the community,” Westmoreland said. “We had to beat the top four teams in a row, and I’m not sure that’s ever happened. We have a great chance to do it again next year, but we are going to enjoy this one and then get right back to work.”


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