Poth returns to girls basketball state tournament
The Pirettes' 14th trip to state
POTH – Following a five-year drought, the Poth girls basketball team is back in the UIL girls state basketball tournament.
Sixth-year head coach Amanda Hemby, a Poth graduate, says returning to state for the first time since 2013 feels incredible.
"It means a lot," Hemby said. "I was an assistant that year when we went. I've taken two teams to the regionals that haven't gotten over that hump, and now to be at state is a dream come true. I'm proud of them (my players), they're the ones that have put in the time and the effort."
One look at their banners inside the school's gym shows that the Pirettes have a deep basketball tradition. Girls who grow up in Poth dream of going to state.
"It's a great feeling," junior Sydney Cooper said with a big smile. "I'm super excited to continue the tradition here."
Two seasons ago, Poth came up one victory short of advancing to state. Last season, they fell in the third round. Now, the Pirettes are back in the Final Four, two wins from their ultimate goal.
"It's amazing," senior Chelsea Kruse said. "We've been working for this our whole entire basketball careers, my basketball career. And being a senior, it's just an amazing opportunity to share with my team, especially going to state. It just feels amazing."
Poth (29-5) will face Woodville (38-1) in a Class 3A semifinal at 3:00 p.m. Thursday at the Alamodome.
"First of all, they do have one loss, so that means they are beatable," Hemby said. "We're definitely looking at that. Obviously, they got speed, they've got size, and we're hoping to show them some of what this town has to offer. I think this should be a good matchup. We've definitely got some good shooters. Hopefully, we can shoot at the Alamodome, so that will be our big strength going in."
Unlike past years, UIL state teams will now get a 30-minute window to practice at the Alamodome before playing a game. This will give the girls a chance to get familiar with the dome and perhaps shake off a few nerves.
"I get nervous thinking about it," Kruse said. "I went there to see the state game, since we didn't make it that year, and going in there and seeing the atmosphere, it's just overwhelming, but I know we're going to go out there and work and do good."
Playing against bigger schools early in the season has contributed to Poth's success and has them ready to play on the big stage at the famed Almodome.
"That is crazy," Cooper said. "I knew we'd get here at one point, but actually getting here and being in that moment, nothing can beat it."
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