This time last year, the Angelina College Lady Roadrunners were on the verge of making college history. They were just days away from winning the Region XIV Conference Championship tournament in Shreveport, Louisiana, becoming the first AC women’s team to qualify for the national tournament.
Fast forward 12 months later, and the Lady ’Runners again prepare to embark on another attempt to cut down the nets in Shreveport on Saturday.
To do so, AC’s ladies will have to get past the Panola College Fillies, a team with which the Lady ’Runners split the season series. Panola won in blowout fashion back in January, but AC exacted a measure of revenge this past Saturday, winning 87-63 on Sophomore Day at Shands Gymnasium.
“We’ll just have to give the same effort we gave on Saturday, particularly in the first quarter,” head coach Byron Coleman said. “Defensively, we just have to execute our game plan. They’re a tough team, they run some really good sets and have a couple of very good shooters, so we just have to stay on our Ps and Qs and stick with the scouting report.”
Two current Lady Roadrunners were on the squad for last year’s ride. Britney Thompson and Simran Mayfield have played at the Gold Dome at Centenary College in Shreveport — the site of this year’s tournament.
“The vibe is different during tournament week,” Coleman said. “Hopefully, those sophomores can help the others understand the atmosphere there, to get up for the games but not get too far up. The intensity will be way different, and those kids can help lead the others while still getting excited for this opportunity.”
Despite playing much of this year with a banged-up roster, the Lady Roadrunners (17-12) fought their way to a sixth seed, while Panola College earned the third spot. Having key players back in time for a postseason run gives AC a shot to dance for more than a single game, Coleman said.
“I think we’ve proven in some of the games we’ve played, when we’ve been good, we’ve been very good, but when we’ve been bad, we’ve been pretty bad,” Coleman said. “We’re still not 100 percent healthy, but we’re as healthy as we’ve been for the past month and a half.
“We’ve been saying all year that if we can get everybody healthy and on the floor together, we’re in the top two or three teams in our league, no doubt. I think we have a legit chance to win in this tournament.”
Tonight’s game tips off at 8 p.m. in Shreveport. Live streaming will be available at angelinaathletics.com.