The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Lady Pirate basketball team (#22) completed regular season play in impressive fashion with a blowout win over district rival Sinton 55-25 Friday, Feb. 5 at home.
Having already clinched a district championship in their victory over Beeville Wednesday, Feb. 3, RFHS’ game against Sinton was still important. Not only did it mean a victory over a tough, district rival, but it also extended their winning streak to 18 games and capped off an undefeated district season at 11-0.
After their win over Sinton, RFHS formally celebrated its district championship. They received their District 26-4A championship trophy and cut down the nets.
For RFHS, it is their third ever district championship, and the first once since 2011.
The district title is a special one for numerous players and coaches on the team.
RFHS Head Girls Basketball Coach Morgan Hale was a player on the 2011 RFHS team. Winning a district championship as a player, and returning a decade later to win it again as head coach, is something Hale said is very surreal.
“It’s surreal to even think about it,” said Hale. “I told the girls the other day, ‘nobody can take away the memories I made in high school and winning,’ and I just want them to experience the same thing and I’m so proud of them,” said Hale.
Melissa Reyes, who is an assistant coach under Hale, was one of Hale’s position coaches on the 2011 team. Reyes’ daughter, Mikayla Molina, is a starting point guard for RFHS.
Molina, a junior, has been one of RFHS’ starting guards since her freshman season. However, RFHS has not made the playoffs since 2017. Molina said winning the district title is, “unbelievable.”
“It’s an experience that is so unbelievable,” said Molina. “It’s crazy, because we’ve never done it in the past two years, so to finally be here, and to be on top, (it’s unbelievable).
Kaylee Howell, a junior, has been a starting forward for RFHS since her freshman year as well. Howell’s mother was also one of Hale’s position coaches on the 2011 team. Howell, after two straight seasons of disappointment, said she never would of thought it would all lead to this.
“It’s amazing,” said Howell. “Because, we started the first two years off, not necessarily accepting where we were, but it was kind of like, ‘Hey let’s win a couple games,’ that was our goal.
“This year we came in and said, ‘Hey let’s get into the playoffs. That’s the goal.’ But, two years ago, if you had asked me where I thought I would be today, I never would have said right here holding a rope from the net and holding the trophy in my hand. I never would have thought, and it’s amazing I got to experience that here at a place that so many amazing people have come through and made such a legacy.
“I’m excited to be able to start a tradition, and a program, and hopefully we just run through playoffs and get to where we want to be. That’d be awesome.”
In RFHS’ first matchup against Sinton, it took a 20-point comeback to steal the game away. This time around, RFHS jumped on the board quickly, and didn’t relent.
After the first quarter, RFHS held a 23-7 lead.
Howell scored 11 of RFHS’ 23 points.
Molina hit three 3-point field goals (FG) from the corner.
Just as Beeville did two days before, Sinton struggled to contain RFHS’ offensive prowess.
In the second quarter, Howell continued her onslaught in the paint, this time getting Lilith Solis and Audra Jones involved. Jordan Malone also added another 3-point FG. RFHS’ defensive interior locked Sinton down to four points in the quarter. At the half, RFHS held a 37-11 lead.
In the third quarter, RFHS took a 30-point lead with six minutes left. Howell added another 10 points in the quarter and allowed RFHS to cruise into the fourth quarter with a 51-17 lead.
Howell led RFHS in scoring with 30 points.
Molina followed with 10 points and Malone scored six points.
Hale said her team is playing its best basketball as they enter the postseason.
“We are playing our best basketball as a team right now,” said Hale. “We’re sharing the ball, there’s a difference in that, and it leads to big wins like this.”
During their 10-day quarantine, Howell said being forced to sit hit the team hard, and they were eager to get back on the court and finish what they started.
“It really (hit us),” said Howell. “We came back out and said, ‘we need to be back out here.’ It was in our blood. It had become our lifestyle for the past couple months and we just couldn’t live without it.”
After blowing out two former state ranked teams in a span of three days, Molina said her team is playing with relentless effort.
“We’re playing hard and we came out hard on both teams for all four quarters,” said Molina.
RFHS will continue its journey in a bi-district match up with La Marque. They will play the Lady Cougars at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11 in Tidehaven.