Carman Peterson — Special Contributor
The Victory Baptist Academy Lady Patriots’ basketball team will begin its quest for a state title in a play-off game this Thursday, against Faustina Academy of Irving. A win would take the Lady Patriots to the Division II Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship (TCAF) state championship tournament, to be held Friday and Saturday at Trinity Christian Academy in Willow Park.
Currently riding a 10-game winning streak, VBA is the No. 2 seed in the TCAF tournament. They are undefeated in district play, with an overall season record of 15-5.
Earlier in the season, the team finished second in a tournament hosted by Trinity Christian Academy, and competed in the Eagles’ Classic Invitational tournament on the campus of Pensacola Christian College in Florida, featuring teams from Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
“I feel very positive,” head coach Rob Catuto said of the play-off game. “If we play the game we’re capable of playing, I think we have a very good chance of winning the state title.”
Catuto, assisted by Brooklyn McIntosh, said his team has worked hard to contend at the state level.
“The team this year has been a joy to work with,” he said. “Coaches hope for just one leader on a team, and I had a team full of leaders, which made it very easy to coach them. They worked hard in practice and on their own. Some would come early, some would stay late.”
“Our goal from the beginning of the season was to get to the championship game,” Catuto added. “If we get to that game, we’ve accomplished that goal. Anything above that is a bonus.”
The Lady Patriots’ work ethic this season showed in their individual achievements. Seniors Jessica Hamilton and Tirzah Pool, along with junior Susannah Pool, were named to the TCAF All-District First Team, while senior Cesia Aguilar, junior Rayanne Langley, and freshman Cheyenne Graham were selected for TCAF All-District Second Team.
“I couldn’t do anything without the rest of my teammates,” Hamilton said. “I really wanted to work hard and do my best for them because I know any player can really make a huge difference. It’s not just about me — it’s about the entire team. If I’m not pushing myself, giving 110 percent, that’s going to show through the other girls.”
In addition to preparing for a chance at the state championship, VBA is also looking ahead to the 2013-2014 season.
“We’re already planning for next season. I’m trying to work the girls in to the positions they’ll be in next year,” Catuto said.
Although the team will lose three players to graduation, Catuto noted that the VBA junior high girls were state runner ups, and the future of the program looks exciting.
The Lady Patriots will host Faustina Academy at 6 p.m. Victory Baptist Academy is located on the campus of Victory Baptist Church, 1311 E. Bankhead Dr. in Weatherford. For more information, visit the school website at vbainfo.com.