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Basketball: Sweet success – Sissies rise through adversity with sights on playoffs

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015
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Success is not something Landrie Walsh and her fellow Bridgeport seniors take for granted.

“We’ve seen both sides. Our freshman year, we made the playoffs – and then the past two years we’ve lost every district game,” Walsh explains.

So while 19 wins in their first 23 outings is an impressive start, they are far from satisfied.

“The playoffs – that’s what pushes us,” Walsh said. “We want to go again. We want that feeling.”

Staying the Course

STAYING THE COURSE – Through the ups and downs, Bridgeport seniors Lauren Stowers, Diana Garcia, Landrie Walsh and Bailey Thompson have kept their heads up and kept working. They are now enjoying their best season, getting off to a 19-4 start. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Sissies hoped to take the first step toward that goal Tuesday as they opened District 8-4A play at home against Springtown. But they are not looking ahead.

“We’re taking it one game at a time,” said Bailey Thompson.

Thompson and Walsh have been on the Bridgeport varsity since their freshmen year. They were part of Dallas Taylor’s first campaign as head coach in 2012. Classmates Lauren Stowers and Diana Garcia joined them as sophomores.

BACK ON THE ATTACK – Bridgeport’s Landrie Walsh takes the ball inside during the Sissies’ game against Wichita Falls Rider. She is one of four seniors for the Sissies. Submitted photo

After going 17-13 their freshman year, the program turned over their sophomore season. They were 14-18 that year with a winless run through a tough 9-3A. Last year, the Sissies had high expectations after starting the season 5-0. Then Thompson and Elaina Payton were lost for the season with knee injuries.

“We thought we’d do good last year then we had the injuries,” Thompson said.

The Sissies remained guarded after this year’s early-season success.

“When we got our first win, we were a little freaked out,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t until after a few more when we expected it.”

Bridgeport really got on a roll in late November with strong showings at the Ponder, Jacksboro and Era Tournaments.

“It was real fun our senior year, winning all our tournaments,” Thompson said.

Heading into district, two of the Sissies’ four losses are to ranked teams – Peaster and Wichita Falls Rider.

Thompson leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.9 points along with four assists and four steals. Walsh is chipping in 12.5 points and five rebounds. Stowers is adding 6.9 points and six boards. Garcia contributes 5.29 points and six steals.

“All four feed off each other,” Taylor said. “Bailey sets the tone. Diana is our energizer. Lauren is the relentless rebounder. Landrie is our rock. She’s Miss Dependable.

“They’ve learned they need each other. They are close on and off the floor.”

As Stowers points out: “If I don’t see them for a day, it’s weird.”

Taylor, who has known these seniors since elementary school, is glad to see the group experience success after fighting through adversity the past two years.

“They’ve stayed the course,” Taylor said. “They’ve come in every day and responded to the challenges – positive and negative. It’s nice to see them rewarded for all their efforts.”

A recent reward came from a young fan.

“A little girl came up to me and said, ‘I heard your team was really good,'” Thompson explained. “It made me feel good.”

The Sissies know there is still work to do to reach their goal – the playoffs. That will be a perfect exclamation mark to their careers.

“Us four seniors have got to see [the program] blossom,” Walsh said. “Our first year was building the machine. Now, we finally have the machine going. It’s a matter of keeping it going.”

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