Dublin seniors relishing the moment, hoping to climb ‘Wall’

Advertisement
Dublin's seniors have one guaranteed game remaining in their careers. They'll have to climb a 'Wall' to get another. || TheFlashToday.com photo

By BRAD KEITH

TheFlashToday.com

DUBLIN (February 17, 2016) — Yes, Dublin is staring into a wall.

Literally, and figuratively.

But the Lady Lions say they don’t care. They feel as if they’ve already climbed a mountain just to get here.

“We’ve definitely overcome many mountains and have played many great teams to get to this point,” said senior point guard London Jones. “We’re definitely not going to back down now.”

This point is the area round of the Region I-3A girls basketball playoffs after the Lady Lions won in the post season for the first time since 2007 Tuesday. They beat Brady, 64-52, thanks largely to a 23-0 second-quarter run and 21 points from Carey Belew.



Dublin and No. 1 Wall meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at McMurry University’s Kimbrell Arena in Abilene. Wall reached the area round by stifling Coahoma, 57-10, in bi-district.

Dublin is entering the unknown. The program has not been back to the regional or state tournaments since reaching both way back in 1992. That was 24 years and nine head coaches ago.

The current head coach, Britney Helton, was leading a private school program at the Fairhill School in Plano at this time last year.

“No way could I have ever imagined this,” said Helton, a 2003 graduate of Stephenville High School who came home to Erath County to take the Dublin job. “This is a great group of girls and they’ve really opened my eyes to what can happen here. I never could have imagined any of this in my first year back in public schools.”

Leading that group of girls is five seniors, four of them starters, in what is basically a six-player rotation.

Jones joins twins Carey and Carley Belew and Amber James in the starting lineup along with junior post Whitney Weems. Senior Shelby Templeton was the only player to come in off the bench most the way against Brady.

“Excitement for the girls is what I felt the most,” said Helton of the moments following the playoff win over Brady. “I knew they wanted this and haven’t ever experienced it, and to see them get to enjoy it was wonderful. I experienced it as a player but to come back now and see it as a coach from another perspective is just as enjoyable.”


Advertisement
Advertisement

 

The seniors don’t care who’s next. They just want to keep playing basketball.

“It feels pretty awesome that we made it this far and that we get to keep going with our teammates,” said Carley Belew. “It really is a great way to end our career.  I couldn’t have wished for a better ending, except for maybe to delay it a little more.”

That won’t be easy, but that’s not a secret.

“We have to stay out of foul trouble. We have to play smart and hard defensively and play our game,” said Helton. “We can’t beat them playing their game. We have to be the ones to set the tone.”

And, of course, the Lady Lions have to believe.

“We need to play defense and go out there thinking we can win and we will,” said Carey Belew, who agreed the 21-point performance against Brady may have been one of the best of her career. “It really could be. I was just going out there trying to help the team win, and hopefully I can have another good one [against Wall].”

Templeton knows Wall is No. 1 for a reason, but refuses to put them on a pedestal above any other team.

“Wall is just a bunch of girls playing basketball just like we are. If we play our game it can be a good game,” Templeton said.

The Lady Lions will certainly have all of Dublin in their corner.

“I think the coolest part of this has been seeing the community come to the games. There are a lot of people I’ve never seen before and they are all coming out and taking pride in the program,” said James, one of several Lady Lions who also reached the area round of the volleyball playoffs. “Good things are happening in Dublin and people are really coming together and getting excited about it.”

Such support is not lost on the head coach.

“A lot of people have come out to support Dublin. Seeing the way everyone has gotten behind these girls, it’s been really special,” said Helton.


Advertisement
Advertisement

Now the Lady Lions and their faithful prepare for what may be the ultimate test.

Or perhaps just another ‘wall’ to climb.

“Have fun. That’s our biggest thing,” said Jones. “All we have to do is play together and have fun.”

Note: A community sendoff is planned for 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Fans will line both sides of  as they Blackjack Street (Hwy. 6) to support the Lady Lions as they depart for Abilene.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply