GODLEY — The Godley Lady Cats eighth-grade basketball team put together an impressive two-year run as back-to-back undefeated district champions.
Godley’s Class of 2024 Lady Cats’ basketball group went 10-0 last season as seventh graders in district play and followed it up with another 10-0 mark as eighth graders this season. Overall, the Lady Cats have a combined 28-2 record over the past two years.
Godley Coach Ashley Blue said this specific group of Lady Cats is a well-rounded group of student-athletes.
“As their coach, it is very rewarding to see these girls have the success they do,” Blue said. “They are a team that works hard every day of the week and throughout the offseason. Most of the girls participate in lessons outside of school and participate in multiple sports and academic functions. I feel it is very important to be versatile as an athlete and be involved in different activities, which has been an important part for the girls’ success. They have learned to adapt to different situations that different sports offer you, as well as different coaching styles. They are well-rounded girls, and you will find they are very successful in most of the areas they participate in, including academics, sports, and agriculture events.”
While Blue coached these Lady Cats to the eighth-grade district title, Brian Mourning directed them to a district title in their seventh-grade year. And Mourning said the cohesion of the group is what allows for their great success.
“It’s the relationships they have built with each other on and off the court,” Mourning said. “It’s rewarding to see what they have done in middle school but the next four years is where it really counts. The success they have had the last two years should set them up for big things at the next level.”
The eighth-grade Lady Cats are comprised of Lexi Abbott, Ella Balderas, Audrey Bower, Cadence Chambliess, Brooklyn Fancher, Payton DeFoor, Alyssa Jimenez, Trinity Roden, Logan Reed, and Reese Tennery.
Blue agreed that what most stands out about the Class of 2024 Lady Cats through their seventh- and eighth-grade years is their chemistry and close-knit bond.
“I feel the most special thing about this group is how close they are as a team and their focus and drive for the game,” Blue said. “They support each other no matter who is on the floor and push to make each other better at every practice. These girls really have grasped the concept of, ‘There’s no I in team.’ As a coach, they have made this program successful because I can rely on each one of them to come off the bench and do what needs to be done to win. There were plenty of times this season that one girl was placed in a position that they may not usually play and each of them stepped up to the challenge and excelled, and to have that talent and attitude from them is special.”
In addition to their team chemistry, Blue said they take coaching well but they also have natural talent.
“On the court, these girls come out with focus and drive, and we instill in them to always respect their opponent,” Blue said. “We push them to have a mindset that they have to play their hardest every game to win, and they do. We spend a lot of time on fundamentals, how to play under pressure, and making sure they not only play the game but understand it.
“This group is vast in their ability to see the floor and push the ball quickly and efficiently. They play very unselfish and are quick to make the pass that is the best option to score. They are smart and they can shoot. Our last game of the season this year, we had five girls shoot 3-point shots and made of 8-of-8. ... We have three players that average 15 points a game. There is a lot of talent and I have high hopes and expectations for their future are as they move up to high school.”
Like Blue, Mourning also has high expectations out of this group as they transition into their high school careers — if they continue their hard work and dedication.
“They will make an impact for sure at the next level but as far as how big of an impact they will make is up to them,” Mourning said. “Are they willing to put time in during the offseason, do what coaches ask them to do, grow maturely as an athlete and teammate? Moving to high school is a big jump with a lot of different distractions that can pull kids off of their goals. If they are able to keep doing all of those things consistently then I expect them to have a lot of success in high school.”