Pantherettes receive strong homecoming after tough ending to season

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Pantherette head coach Cathy Self-Morgan embraces senior Tasia Foman during the coming home celebration after the team lost in the State Championship game to Manvil 53-58.  (Karla Estrada Photo)
Pantherette head coach Cathy Self-Morgan embraces senior Tasia Foman during the coming home celebration after the team lost in the State Championship game to Manvil 53-58. (Karla Estrada Photo)

As the Duncanville band starts blasting music and all the fans start cheering, the Pantherette basketball team and the coaching staff comes walking out of the gym hand in hand. This was meant to be a happy moment for everyone,  yet the team and coaches were all in tears, after returning home from the State tournament with a 53-58 loss to Manvil in the final game. As they walk through the crowd their heads are held high and they give the occasional high five to the crowd as they pass.

Then they stopped at the doors of the cafeteria just as the crowd started to chant “WE ARE PROUD OF YOU” over and over again. This only brought more tears from the players as they see the support of the crowd in spite of a tough loss ending their 105 consecutive win streak. As everyone enters the cafeteria and the speeches begin.  Chamber of Commerce President Steve Martin was emotional as he addressed the crowd at the homecoming celebration March 3.

“We love you, we need you, and we couldn’t have taken this journey without each and every one of you,” Martin said. “You see this crowd behind you, we’re coming back next year and we are going to start that new streak!”

 

Next coach Self-Morgan came up onto the stage and brought up all the senior girls with her as the crowd cheered her on with a loud applause. She talked about a nightmare she had and how she never taught the girls how to lose.

“With great love a lot of the time comes great pain,” Self-Morgan said. “But that’s the risk we take and that’s the risk we want to take.”

 

Coach Self-Morgan said  there isn’t anything she’d take back from this year, and this experience.

“I can’t be more proud of a group of players,” Self-Morgan said.  “And the better team is standing right here in front of you today.”

She then handed the microphone to senior star player Ariel Atkins who then tried to motivate all the younger girl players for next year.

“I need y’all to promise me, because y’all deserve it. We all deserve it. Push everyday, work and want it,” Atkins said. “Y’all have to want it. You can’t just give up. I love y’all to death and I want to thank y’all for everything you’ve done for me.”

The last person to take the microphone was senior TasiaFoman who at first couldn’t  get a sentence out and broke down into tears. As she was embraced by Coach Self-Morgan, she began to speak.

“I’m thankful that God put me here in this city to play for this school,” Foman said.  “I believe that God put me here for a reason and I love you all.”

So though the Pantherettes ended up coming home as the 5-A State Runner Up, they still are holding their heads up high and doing their best to stay positive.

 “Last night when the girls were down stairs coming to the bus, my wife and I were standing up above and there was a family coming out,” Martin said. “A man was standing with his fifth grade daughter and he was pointing down to the girls saying ‘look at them, even in a loss their heads are held high, their chins are up and they walk like champions.’ and then he said ‘that’s what it’s like to be a Pantherette.”