SOUR LAKE, Texas — Our 409Sports Athlete isn't a single standout performer. It's a team that's become one of the very best in the state.
The Hardin-Jefferson Lady Hawks are heading to their third State Tournament in four years.
After falling in championship games in 2019 and 2021, HJ is on a mission to win the school's first girls basketball title since 1989.
Senior Ashlon Jackson has noticed a change in her team this time around.
"We showed a different type of focus. Like we won the regional final game, you know usually we celebrate everything. Doesn't matter if it's small or big. Celebration wasn't that big you know, cause we have two more left."
The Lady Hawks will open the State Tournament in the Alamodome Friday at 1:30 pm against undefeated, top ranked Argyle.
Junior Molly Beavers thinks a fast start is the key to beating the Lady Eagles.
"Definitely can't let them, we can't let them get ahead. We gotta step on their throat quick and finish it fast."
In 2019, Ashlon Jackson was a freshman when Argyle took down HJ in the 4A Championship, so this one means a little more.
"Oh yes. It means a lot. That's a great team. They're greatly coached. I just can't wait to get a feel for them again and actually win this time."
For sophomore Kendall Sneed getting the experience of playing at State as a freshman has her more relaxed for the return to San Antonio.
"Of course. When I walked out onto that court as a freshman, I was starstruck. I don't think I've played on anything like that, but this year going in knowing what to expect and going in knowing how to play under those big lights, I don't think it will have me near as nervous. But I'm nervous before every game."
If HJ gets past Argyle, they'll play for the State Championship at seven o'clock Saturday night in the Alamodome.
Sneed knows her team will be ready for the challenge.
"They are a very good team, well-coached. They know how to win, but we don't know how to lose much either. So we're coming for it."