Special to the Express
LAVACA — To hear Beth Ann May tell it, she would keep hitting one of those life-cycle replay buttons if such a thing existed.
Beth Ann May loves being a Lavaca Lady Golden Arrow basketball player.
And the Lavaca Lady Arrows love her as well.
“To be a senior, we’re all leaving it out there right now,” May said. “I’m so proud to be an Arrow. Most of our seniors have been here since kindergarten. To still be wearing this jersey, it’s awesome.”
The Lady Arrows (20-11) hit the floor this afternoon against Riverside in the first round of the 2A state tournament in Carlisle.
A tight-knit group of seniors hit the proverbial reset button midway through the regular season that’s carried over to post-season play.
The other five Lavaca seniors, Adeline Newhart, Hope Headley, Julianne O’Dell, Avery Green and Skylar Hyatt, share May’s vision.
“We’re playing with a little more fire than we had early on,” Lavaca coach Justin Wyles said. “The testament to the season they’re having now starts with the players. That locker room is very close. They enjoy being around each other and it shows on the court.”
“We’re pretty close,” May said. “A bunch of us had played together since we were little kids, and I think that makes it pretty amazing to see how close we are. I think that’s the reason why we’re still going, because we’re going for each other.
“Not a single one of us playing for ourselves — we’re playing for each other.”
The passion the players show for one another isn’t any different from other teams at this time of the season. No one wants to go home early.
But talk can be cheap, too.
“I don’t think it’s difficult at all,” May said. “When you love somebody as much as we love each other, it’s not hard at all. We’ve been playing since we were five years old, so if we’ve loved each other for that long it’s not that difficult.”
The Lady Golden Arrows face a Riverside team whose seven losses have come against some of the top teams in state, including 27-4 Melbourne.
Riverside earned the No. 3 seed last week by eking out a 36-33 win over Marmaduke in Saturday’s third place game of the region tournament.
May and Hyatt will be matched up with, among others, one of Riverside’s top inside threat, 5-foot-9 Grace Puckett.
“We just have to stick together and make sure there’s no ‘I’ in team,” May said. “As long as we’re still playing as a team, we’ll be fine.”
May attributes a lot of the team’s success to Wyles’ leadership.
“I think we have an amazing coach,” May said. “He does everything in his ability to make sure we keep going.”
Wyles replaced well-liked Steve Moody three years ago.
“It was a little scary,” May said. “A lot of us were really close to coach Moody, so having to adapt, and bring somebody else in, was new. But he’ll (Wyles) forever be someone that’s way more than just a coach to us. I know that’s what everybody says, but coaches Wyles has absolutely been way more than just a coach to us.”
Photo by Brian D. Sanderford/Times Record
Lavaca’s Beth Ann May, center, is fouled by Alma Hillaire Mata, left, as she attempts to go between Mata and Makailey Dowdy on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, at Charles B. Dyer Airedale Arena in Alma during the Airedale Classic.