Faurie chasing childhood dream of a state championship
By Paul Livengood
“Make it to state.”
Kandyn Faurie wrote those two phrases on a sheet of paper when she was six years old.
Faurie made the Liberty Hill Lady Panthers varsity basketball team as a freshman, shining early on in her basketball career.
“Freshman year, once I made the team, I was really happy because I was really stressed out about that,” Faurie said. “It was only seniors and juniors, and then me. Once I knew they let me in was probably my proudest moment. It felt like ‘okay, they’re accepting me.’ I’m a freshman, and they finally edged on. One game I had 28 points.”
Ever since then, Faurie has been doing everything in her power to make her childhood dream a reality. She has already come within one game of her goal, and she’s done it twice.
In Faurie’s freshman season, Liberty Hill qualified for the state semifinal game, with one win remaining to propel the Panthers to the championship. The Panthers lost to the Wylie Bulldogs, 42-53. The team came out flat, and found themselves on the wrong end of an early 22-10 deficit at halftime. The Panthers outscored the Bulldogs 32-31 in the second half, but it still wasn’t enough to bring Faurie’s team back.
Their season was over.
“Freshman year, I was like, ‘This might be my only chance,’” Faurie said. “When we lost, I was heartbroken.”
The following season brought some new faces to the Liberty Hill program. Coach Chris Lange was hired as the new head coach, and 6-foot-7 Sedona Prince was added to the Lady Panthers’ roster, giving Faurie new hope of a return run at the state title.
“Then Sedona came back, we got a new coach, and so I felt like we could do this again,” Faurie said. “I was even more heartbroken that game than freshman year just because I was like ‘Ugh, we had it in our fingertips’.”
Faurie’s sophomore campaign ended the same way — the Lady Panthers advanced to the state semifinal game once again, only to lose one game out of her childhood goal. Liberty Hill was defeated by the Argyle Eagles, 32-43.
Perhaps the third time is the charm. Liberty Hill has experience on their side. All but four players on the varsity roster this season played on varsity at some point in 2015-16. The entire starting five are all returners. Coach Lange is in his second year of his tenure with the team, so he knows what Faurie and the rest of the team are capable of.
Faurie said last season Lange didn’t like for the girls to mention going to state. This season, Lange had “state is the goal” written out at the parent meeting.
Faurie has two more cracks at the state title, and she is confident in herself and the team.
“I think we all just feel it; this is the year,” Faurie said. “I believe this is the year. We are all just so ready. We all know how much we want it and how capable we are of making it.”
Liberty Hill is 25-2 so far this season and 7-0 in district. Faurie has been a leading scoring option for the Panthers, scoring 12 points against Llano, 15 points against Lampasas, and 18 points against Leander Glenn in the past three games.
The two losses this season have been dished out by Argyle and Kennedale. Faurie did not play against Kennedale due to an ankle injury.
Faurie says the team uses the losses as motivation to keep their competitive edge in their less competitive district schedule. Liberty Hill will likely see one of, if not both teams in the playoffs. When they do, the Panthers will be ready.
“After Argyle, we drew up another play to help us against that sort of defense that they ran against us,” Faurie said. “Kennedale, we need to work on the press break. We had like 20 turnovers that game, I think. We focus on those two games quite a bit, I’d say.”
Faurie is chasing childhood dreams, and she is determined to not let anything or anyone stand in her way.