UIL Girls State Basketball Championship: Texas produces Texas talent
March 5, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- The UIL Girls Basketball Championship runs today through Saturday, turning the Frank Erwin Center into an annual intersection of Texas talent past, present and future. And this year is no different.
One former Longhorn standout is returning to the site of her college glory as the coach of her own high school team. One future Longhorn standout is making her first appearance in the state tournament as a player. And four players on the current UT roster jumpstarted their collegiate careers at the Erwin Center, home of the Longhorns.
"I grew up in a gym. In Canyon, that's what the girls did. We were fortunate and got to win a couple state championships, and I was lucky enough to get to go to UT," Walling said. "I'm thrilled when I get to go back and coach in that gym. Being a Longhorn -- it just makes you proud to get to come back and bring your own team there. It's pretty special, because it's about that bond that you have with your teammates, about being part of something that's bigger than yourself. There's so much pride that comes with being a Texas Longhorn."
"It was really cool to see all of the Texas fans that showed up at the game to support me as a future Longhorn," Kristen said. "The Texas fans are incredibly loyal, and I still see many of them that I met at the State Championship in our stands on game day. It was incredible for me to play on the same floor that I was getting ready to play on for the next chapter of my life that day."
Ashley Lindsey and Ashleigh Fontenette each starred at Pflugerville Connally under the direction of former Longhorns point guard Angie Jo (Ogletree) Hermesmeyer. Lindsey made back-to-back state tournament appearances in her final two seasons, and Fontenette was a freshman on the team that advanced to the state 4A semifinals in 2005.
"The pressure was intense, and I was just a freshman. At that time, I had no idea that I'd be playing for Texas in my collegiate career," Fontenette said. "Every time I play on that court, a little piece of me remembers that State Championship."
"It's exciting, because I get to end my high school career at the Frank Erwin Center, and I'll start my new career as a Texas Longhorn at the same place," Reed said. "I'm honored, because a lot of kids want to go to Texas, and not a lot of kids get the opportunity. Just to be from Texas, and to get to go to Texas and play the sport that I love, I know how fortunate I am and what a privilege it is."