Saturday, February 24, 2018

ET Basketball: McAfee among senior leaders for Longview Lady Lobos

By Hayden Henry
Feb. 1, 2018 at 9:25 p.m.

Longview senior  Destiny McAfee shoots a free throw during Tuesday's game against John Tyler.

Destiny McAfee's approach to any sport is pretty simple: Just go. Whether it's hitting the volleyball court for the first time or helping guide a new-look Longview Lady Lobo basketball team to a potential playoff berth, the senior has had an impact on both.

"Honestly, I just play my hardest in any sport that I do," McAfee said. "Volleyball, track or basketball, whatever it is, I'm going to play as hard and as fast as I can."

McAfee earned second-team honors in District 11-6A and was a third-team All-East Texas Volleyball selection after finishing with 252 kills and 79 blocks this past season, the first season she suited up in volleyball.

As a returning starter on the basketball team, first-year Lady Lobo head basketball coach Robert Cochran isn't surprised.

"I've coached a kid that jumped in the Olympics, several that played big-time basketball and Destiny is that kind of athlete that is special to do things like excelling in a sport right out of the gate," Cochran said. "She's put in a tremendous amount of work and she's allowed me to coach her and be harder on her than she is used to, and I can't speak as to how much she's improved not only as a basketball player but all the way around.

"She's a big part of our team, but she's also a great teammate."

McAfee is one of three seniors for the Lady Lobos, joined by Kyrra Boone and Kindra Taylor, a trio that Cochran said has made the transition an easy one.

"I can't ask them to buy in or be any more on board with what we're doing or to be leaders to get everybody on board," Cochran said. "As a coach, it's not always that easy or it's not always that way.

"With those three, they're special to me because they've made it an easy transition to get everyone to buy in."

McAfee leads the Lady Lobos in scoring (14 ppg.), rebounds (7), assists (3), steals (2) and minutes (25).

"We're playing with some injuries, but everyone has done their job," McAfee said. "We're playing as a team.

"Under Coach Cochran, anything is possible. We're working toward our strengths. He demands a lot and it's a lot of pressure, but he wants the best for us."

While McAfee is filling the stat sheet, Cochran said the contributions of Boone and Taylor sometimes go unnoticed, but have been pivotal for Longview, whose roster features juniors Heavunli Reese and Destiny Lilly, sophomore Jordan McClain and freshmen Madison Pippins and Miah Colbert.

"Kyrra is never going to be big on the stat sheet as far as points scored but we can't play without her," Cochran said. "She does all of the dirty work defensively, can play any spot in the press and can dish it out.

"Kindra has come a long way too and I've been very impressed. She's made some big shots along the way and gives us an inside presence that we didn't have early on.

"The contributions they're making as seniors, both on and off the court, this team wouldn't be in the position we're in without them."

With two games left in the regular season, the Lady Lobos (21-11, 5-7 in 11-6A) control their own destiny in the playoff race after a two-year absence from the postseason.

The Lady Lobos hit the road tonight for a showdown with Rockwall-Heath, who enters tonight in fourth in 11-6A at 6-6.

The Lady Lobos close the regular season against Mesquite while the Lady Hawks meet Mesquite Horn, which, along with Rockwall and Tyler Lee, have already locked up a playoff spot.

Rockwall-Heath won the first meeting, 74-66, in January at Lobo Coliseum.

"Right now, we've got a lot of hard work left to do," McAfee said. "All the odds have been against us but I like the way we've played through everything to be in this position.

"It's going to take everything we have."

Tipoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. tonight in Rockwall.



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