By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
MIDLOTHIAN — For senior forward Liz Schmidt, the 12th-ranked Midlothian Heritage girls’ basketball team has done a little more than simply win their third-consecutive undefeated district championship.
The Jaguars, who are absolutely rolling into the Class 4A playoffs, have cemented their legacy. They’ve also laid the building blocks for the program to succeed long after this class of three — Schmidt and guards Megan Hill and Kylar Kenter — graduate.
“It feels good because it feels like we are starting a legacy here,” the three-sport star said. “This is our third district championship in a row and it feels like we have started that tradition of winning.”
Schmidt, who averages 9.8 points per game and 6.5 rebounds, added, “It’s not only about working hard on the court, but it’s also about working hard in the weight room and classroom, too.”
The Jaguars enter the 4A playoffs winners in 15 of their final 16 games and 20-5 overall. The lone loss came at home in a non-district game against (28-4) Dallas Thunder, a homeschool team based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Heritage fell 48-38 in that contest, only to rebound by drubbing Ferris on the road in their regular-season finale, 65-29.
Heritage outscored its opposition 55.1 ppg to 35.7 during the regular season.
Second-year head coach Angie Evans said this season’s run has been the result of the Jaguars’ dedication on the court, in the weight room and in the classroom.
“This feels great and it’s good. We have a great group of kids and they work their tails off. They deserve it and they’ve earned it,” Evans said. “[…] Last year was my first year here, so there were a few little adjustments, but this just feels like home and these girls feel like family. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”
The Jaguars are led by sophomore sensation Jerzie Bryant. The point guard averages a team-best 14.7PPG, 3.2 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 steals. She poured in a season-high 26 points in a 52-43 victory against Mabank on Dec. 29 and has recorded 15 or more points in 13 of her 24 games.
That victory against Mabank just before the new year also ended with a season-high 14 rebounds. It marked one of four point-rebound double-doubles on the season (12pts, 13reb v. Life Waxahachie; 18pts, 11reb v. Everman, Nov. 6; 16pts, 10reb v. Arlington Bowie, Dec. 4).
Bryan also recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists in a 61-37 victory against Godley on Dec. 18.
Outside of Bryant and Schmidt, the Jaguars will also lean on sophomore Kora Huff (8.3PPG, 7.4REB), junior Elise Stafford (7.2PPF, 2.5ASST) and freshman Grace Sweeny (5.0PPG, 4.8REB) during their playoff run.
That run toward a first-ever state tournament berth begins at 6 p.m. Friday against (3-15) Dallas Roosevelt at Lancaster High School.
The winner will then face Carrollton Ranchview or Van Alstyne in the area round of the 4A Region II playoffs.
But, as Evans is quick to point out, her Jaguars will take each game as it comes and remain focused on the now.
“It is always just one game and tomorrow is a new day,” the head coach said. “We always have to be ready to go into tomorrow.”
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports
Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith