By LANCE CATCHINGS
Senior shooting guard Kandyn Faurie entered her final season as a Lady Panther with the goal of improving herself and her teammates this season. The Lady Panthers are currently 21-3, overall, and 3-0 in district play, so her hard work is showing on the court.
“I think my senior year is going well so far,” Faurie said. “We’ve done very well as a team, overall. We’ve had one really tough loss and two that we probably could have pulled off, but we’ve definitely learned from them. Overall, us bonding as a team has been good, and we are having a lot of fun. We’ve worked really hard, and it has been fun. We still have a lot to learn across the board when it comes to what we have done so far.”
From Dec. 28 through Dec. 30, the Lady Panthers competed at the Whataburger Tournament in Fort Worth at Saginaw High School. Liberty Hill went 3-1 in the tournament and took second place, overall. Faurie was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts.
“We placed second, overall, in the Whataburger Tournament again this year,” she said. “I think losing in the championship was another learning experience for us. We played pretty well throughout the entire tournament. We had some slight adjustments that needed to be made. This tournament, we learned a lot more than we did in our past two tournaments.”
Navigating the holiday break can be tough for some teams, but not Faurie and the Lady Panthers. Heading into their first week back from break, Faurie and her teammates know their basketball schedule will be nonstop until the end of the season.
“Our mindset heading into the holiday break was to stay in shape and stay focused,” she said. “The Whataburger Tournament is likely the toughest competition we will see until the playoffs. Once we lost Saturday, we know we have no room to lose again. Our district can sometimes not be the most competitive, but when we are in district games, we have to give 100 percent. We need to go as hard as we can for as long as we can. We have to play to our level of basketball, no matter who the competition is.”
Faurie has made opponents pay by converting turnovers into points. She prides herself on her defensive effort and tries to elevate her teammates’ play on the defensive end, as well.
“Defensively, we have to focus on playing hard and staying out of foul trouble,” she said. “We have to get into our opponent without fouling them. We have to talk on the floor and make sure we are playing as a team. Team basketball is how we will play to the highest level that we can. Staying together as a team and staying positive as a team is important for us. Knowing the goal and the passion that we all have for ourselves, this season is important. If everyone stays healthy and we play like we can, our goal should be met.”
Faurie, a prolific scorer for the Lady Panthers, also believes in sharing the ball, crashing the boards, and trusting her teammates. In her opinion, those are the keys for overall team success
“My dad has always told me that offensive rebounding can get you your points,” she said. “I think moving off the ball is what makes everything work for us. If I am trying to get buckets, I know that steals and assists will get me what I need. If I help get my teammates buckets, then my buckets will come as well, so I try to see the whole floor. We have to be smart and play as a team to be successful. We have the height and we know we can get buckets, but why not get the easiest buckets available? Once we pass inside, we know Sedona (Prince) can get buckets, and that’s how you win games. If she gets doubled or tripled, then I am confident in every other player on this team shooting the ball when it is in their hands. When we work as a team, it doesn’t matter who has the ball, because everyone can produce.”
When it comes to their end goal, Faurie leaves nothing to debate. The senior only sees one outcome for her final season in the purple and gold.
“There is no question that if I could write it out, we would finish the season as State Champions,” she said. “I have wanted that since I was six years old. It’s on every paper about what is my dream and what are my goals. I have it written everywhere so I can see it. There is no question in my mind that if we play like we can and don’t get injured, we will end the season as State Champions. It will be one of the best moments for us and our school. I see us winning in March, and I want to do everything I can to make that possible.”