While it has been just over two years since the Lancaster Running Tigers claimed back to back UIL 5A State Championships, they have remained ranked Number 1 in the State all season and are looking to repeat this feat in 2019.
“We want to represent our community again down in San Antonio at the State Championship,” senior guard Demonte Williams said. “We work hard every day and push each other to reach our goal of remaining the Number 1 team.”
While the team this year looks a little different than the 2015 and 2016 team, Head Coach Ferrin Douglas believes they have what it takes to win it all.
“These guys may not have the 6’9” or 6’10” players like the other teams had but we have some talented guards,” Douglas said. “These guys work hard every day looking to take the win in every game.”
The Running Tigers only have two losses up to date. Those have come against two top teams in the Class 6A division in Duncanville and Denton Guyer.
“I always want to play the best early in the season to show everyone how we measure up,” Douglas said. “This helps us when we get down the stretch to play top teams in our classification.”
This year’s team just like those who won back to back titles showcases a mix of younger and older talent. Sophomore Jalen Williams said after not making the trip to State on a couple of close losses the last two years, they want to make sure they win down the stretch this year.
“I have seen what my senior leaders have been through the last few years to prepare for another trip to State and I want to do my part to help them get back down to San Antonio,” Williams said. “As a sophomore this means a lot to me because we can carry the tradition on and possibly win another championship next year.”
This year the motto for the team is EPIV or Every Possession is Vital. Douglas said they practice every day like it takes every possession to get the win.
“At the end of every practice my coaching staff ask the team “did we get the win today?,” Douglas said. “We want to hear them say we got the win every day.”
This year the comrade amongst the teammates is a big part of what has helped the Running Tigers win games week after week.
“We all bond together like brothers on an off the court,” Williams said. “Every day we work hard together and practice hard together then push each other on an off the court.”
With this team lacking the size that past Running Tiger teams had, junior Marco Foster said he believes defense has been their key all year.
“We listen to coach Douglas during every practice and play our best defense,” Foster said. “Defense is what we pride ourselves on.”
Douglas admits his team cannot control every aspect of the game but they can certainly control what they can do to get the win.
“We need to focus on what we can control and play the best defense we can,” Douglas said. “In the end, if we keep working hard it will pay off down the stretch with a State Championship.”