Bishop Gorman‚Äôs entire season ‚ÄĒ the culmination of four years for much of the team ‚ÄĒ comes down to an eight-day stretch.
The Lady Crusaders resume their playoff push Tuesday in a state quarterfinal that could be a de facto championship game.
Gorman, the top-ranked team in TAPPS 4A, takes on No. 2 Lubbock Trinity Christian today at 5:30 p.m. from Eastland High School in the regional basketball playoffs.
The matchup is the second of four potential playoff games for the Lady Crusaders (30-3), who opened the postseason with a 64-37 win on Saturday against Grapevine Faith Christian.
The winner of today‚Äôs game moves into the state semifinals on Friday in Mansfield, with the championship game slated for noon Saturday.
With less than a week left in the season, the team‚Äôs six seniors are determined to make it last as long as possible.
‚ÄúEvery time we think about it, it blows my mind,‚ÄĚ Gorman senior Michelle Obach said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre really focused; we‚Äôre just ready to get to the state championship.‚ÄĚ
Junior Brooke Lee, the team‚Äôs second-leading scorer at 12.0 points per game behind Obach‚Äôs 23.2, said she‚Äôs motivated to do her best for the seniors, including Obach, Allie Buzbee, Susannah Williams, Danielle Smith, Laura Meads and Hannah Sattler.
‚ÄúIt is very sad,‚ÄĚ Lee said. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve worked hard the past four years and I‚Äôve been with them for three. I want them to go out with a bang and I want them to finish well and I want to help them as much as I can.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard ‚ÄĒ they‚Äôre all my best friends.‚ÄĚ
Lee more than did her part in Saturday‚Äôs win, going for 21 points and scoring in every way imaginable. Lee his three 3-pointers, went 4 for 4 from the line, completed a three-point play and even pulled off a rare four-point play.
‚ÄúShe is someone who is an offensive threat and is underestimated because there‚Äôs so much focus on Michelle,‚ÄĚ Gorman coach Katie Robertson said. ‚ÄúShe doesn‚Äôt get the credit that she deserves. She doesn‚Äôt just stand on the 3-point line and shoot open shots, she creates and that‚Äôs why she‚Äôs gone to the line so many times this year and that‚Äôs why she has good shooting percentage.
‚ÄúThat definitely helps us down the road when everybody‚Äôs focusing on Michelle.‚ÄĚ
The Lady Crusaders took to the road Monday to diminish the travel on game day, with the drive to Eastland taking more than four hours. Trinity Christian is more accustomed to long trips on game days with most of its district games requiring five-hour drives into the Metroplex.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôll be tough because we‚Äôre not used to it, traveling as far as they are,‚ÄĚ Obach said. ‚ÄúBut I think we‚Äôll adapt well. We‚Äôll step up; it‚Äôs a big game.‚ÄĚ
Robertson said she doesn‚Äôt have to worry about her team‚Äôs focus.
‚ÄúA lot of times I feel like I don‚Äôt even have to get on to some of the girls during practice about goofing off because they‚Äôll call each other out,‚ÄĚ Robertson said. ‚ÄúThey feel accountable for what‚Äôs going to happen and it really comes down to them and what they do on the court.
‚ÄúThey just want to make sure that everybody is mentally and physically ready.‚ÄĚ
Gorman has been preparing for Trinity Christian (25-10) for a couple weeks, knowing the Lady Lions could be the Lady Crusaders‚Äô toughest opponent in the playoffs.
Trinity Christian was state runner-up last year, losing in the final 75-65 to Houston Westbury Christian, which beat Gorman 82-64 in the semifinals.
The Lady Lions won their area playoff 71-41 over Carrollton Prince of Peace, which the Lady Crusaders defeated 69-45 on Jan. 8.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre a team that scares me because they‚Äôre all guards, they shoot a lot of threes and they can be on or they can be off,‚ÄĚ Robertson said. ‚ÄúWe can‚Äôt have a slow start like we‚Äôve had the last two games. We have to win every quarter.
‚ÄúThey play hard. It‚Äôs definitely something that we haven‚Äôt underestimated. I‚Äôve actually been preparing them for the last couple of weeks.‚ÄĚ
The Lady Crusaders went to watch the Lady Lions play a couple weeks ago.
‚ÄúWe know that they‚Äôre good,‚ÄĚ Obach said. ‚ÄúBut we‚Äôre No. 1 for a reason and we‚Äôre going to bring it to ‚Äėem.‚ÄĚ
In 2012 Gorman‚Äôs goal was to get to state, with hopes of winning it all. This year, the vocabulary changed, with the objective now to be the last team standing.
After dispatching Faith Christian on Saturday, no more than five days remain in the Lady Crusaders‚Äô season that is quickly winding down.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs crazy the way it‚Äôs set up this year with it being all within one week,‚ÄĚ Robertson said. ‚ÄúI just hope that we are enjoying our time and really soaking it all in because I feel like it‚Äôs just going to happen so fast.‚ÄĚ