Five storylines heading into the UIL girls playoffs
Amarillo High opens the UIL Class 5A playoffs on a 14-game win streak, and will go for a third straight state championship. [Provided photo]
1. Blow, Sand, Blow into Amarillo history
When veteran coach Jeff Williams and his No. 1-ranked Amarillo High Lady Sandies open the Class 5A playoffs Monday, Amarillo basketball history could await.
Thanks to an incredible run of 14 straight playoff wins, AHS enters the 2020 playoffs owning back-to-back to state championships.
No Amarillo Indeoendent School District team has ever pulled off a state champion three-peat in basketball.
Can AHS do it?
Why not. AHS is on a season-long roll at 32-2 and feature one of the states’ top players in four-year starter 5-foot-11 Zayla Tinner. Tinner averages 16 points and six rebounds per game. Division I schools are knocking on her door with Southern Cal among her favorites.
— Lance Lahnert
2. Does the Naz dynasty roll on
The Nazareth Swiftettes celebrate after winning a third straight Class 1A state championship last March in San Antonio. [Provided photo]
The Nazareth Swiftettes are back where they belong, and are primed for a run at a public school national record 24th state championship. Over the past six years, the storied Swiftettes legacy has grown immensely, winning five Class 1A state championships under coach Eric Schilling. Over the past three years, Naz has a combined record of 128-18 with 18 straight postseason victories, and three straight state championships.
3. A Lombard first
Canyon Hall of Fame girls coach Joe Lombard enjoys some time with his son and assistant coach, Tate, before a game earlier this season. [Cliff Lawson/ For Press Pass Sports]
For the first time in his Hall of Fame career Canyon girls coach Joe Lombard will have his son, and eventual heir apparent, Tate by his side on the bench.
Lombard’s won 1,376 career games to only 132 losses, he’s won 19 state championships, and even shared state titles with Tate in the same season on two separate occasions when Tate was at Wall.
But never, has Lombard enjoyed a year with his son by his side, as the two try and lead the Lady Eagles to their first title since 2017.
4. Class 2A is too good
The Vega Lady Longhorns are ranked No. 2 in the state after finishing the regular season at a perfect 32-0. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
There may not be a stronger region when it comes to state-ranked power that Class 2A Region I represents. Vega (No. 2), Gruver (No. 3), Wellington (No. 8) and Panhandle (No. 10) are all ranked in the top 10.
Between these four powerful programs the overall records are astounding with a combined mark of 118-12. No. 2-ranked Vega has the most impressive record, completing the regular season at 32-0.
Unfortunately, all four of these teams are destined to play each other in the first three weeks of the playoffs, leaving fans to only imagine what a regional tourney they could see.
5. Can Bushland make a run
Bushland celebrates during a timeout in a game earlier this season. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
Bushland is back in the playoffs for a sixth straight year after a 13-1 run through a very good District 1-3A. Each season the Lady Falcons (20-9 overall) have soared farther into the playoffs, but have yet to make a Region I-3A Tournament.
The past two seasons have been close with back-to-back regional quarterfinal appeaeances, however, is 2020 the year Chris Marks team makes that leap into the regional tourney.