Duncanville puts in prep work for state tourney

AUSTIN, Texas -- What’s the key to Duncanville’s success this year?

Chicken wings.

And that’s exactly what the Duncanville girls basketball team will be eating for lunch Friday before its 3:30 p.m. 5A state semifinal game.

“Believe it or not, the pregame meal this team loves is wings and it’s worked for them all year,” Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan said. “We’ve got to find a wings place here.”

Serious basketball preparation does come before the pregame meal, which included a trip to the Erwin Center to take in the 4A semifinal between Mansfield Summit and Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill. The idea was less about watching the game and more about getting a feel for the stadium and the atmosphere that surrounds the girls state tournament.

“We’re here early because we wanted to watch the home team -- where did they come in from, where are they sitting, where is our crowd sitting,” Self-Morgan said. “We just want to absorb it and get a feel for the arena. I don’t think they’re going to have the deer in the headlight look like some teams that come in here.”

With the mental and nutritional aspects of the game already mapped out, all that was left to focus on was keeping the shooting touch warm.

Duncanville left the high school early Thursday morning, waving goodbye to a small crowd of well-wishers and making a stop in Waco for lunch and a quick shootaround at Baylor’s practice facility. Friday morning, Duncanville will shoot around again at the University of Texas’ practice facility, giving many Duncanville players their first look inside a Division I program.

Finally, the coaching staff will make its final preparations, making sure everyone is on the same page. Self-Morgan admitted to scouring the state’s high school media to try and gain a small edge in planning.

“Their coach does a great job and does a lot of smart things with them," Self-Morgan said. "I’ve already read in the press that their coach is tweaking some of their stuff to get ready for this game."

All of that aside, it really comes down to what Duncanville can do on the court, coming off a big win over last year’s state champion, Irving MacArthur. Self-Morgan said she was tempted to have her team watch the game film from the regional final, but decided against it because of the mentality she wants her players to take into this weekend -- that win is over and is in the past.

The present is a date with Houston Cypress Falls and an opportunity to play in the very last game of the season.

“It’s going to be very competitive and we’re going to have to bring our A-game for sure,” Self-Morgan said.