McKenzie girls are dancing
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 21, 2006
McKenzie girls basketball coach Cindy Lowe has waited a long time for this.
Now, she wants time to stand still so she can soak it all in.
After McKenzie captured the Class 1A football title 14 years ago, the decision was made to expand the athletic department by turning to Lowe to start a girls basketball program.
For the last 13 seasons, Lowe has taken her lumps as coach of her alma mater.
Until last season, the Lady Tigers were a permanent fixture in the basement of the area standings and never had a winning record.
Then things began to take an upswing last season.
McKenzie did finish last in the area like it had for the past 12 seasons, but it did finish with a .500 record. It was a dramatic improvement for the Lady Tigers.
Coming into this season, Lowe knew that her club would be competitive but not sure how much so.
McKenzie started off slow, but the highlight of the season was just around the corner.
Playing in their third game of the season, the Lady Tigers faced Class 1A, Area 3 nemesis J.F. Shields. McKenzie had never beaten the Lady Panthers in the history of the program, and the odds were stacked against the Lady Tigers again.
Only no one reminded them of that fact.
McKenzie came away with a key victory that propelled the Lady Tigers to the regular-season area championship and the right to host the area tournament for the first time in the school's basketball history.
So when the Lady Tigers dusted off Florala Thursday night to advance to the tournament final, Lowe took some time to give a few hugs and then brought her team back to midcourt and danced like no other.
Elvis Pressley, himself, would have been impressed with Lowe's moves.
And Lowe deserved to dance.
It's been a while since McKenzie School has prospered in the athletic arena. The Tigers used to be a playoff fixture in football, but those days have gone for a while.
The boys varsity basketball team was only able to muster a handful of wins this season.
And the baseball and softball teams have struggled, too.
There aren't many times that a true dream team comes around to give a community that jolt of pride.
This basketball team has done just that.
And, in turn, the community should thank the girls basketball team and its coach.
It's been a magical season so far for the Lady Tigers and Lowe.
Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail email@example.com.