This is no ordinary season for the DeSoto girls’ basketball team. This, as coach Andrea Robinson coined it, is the Eagles’ “legacy tour.”
DeSoto, after all, won the Texas Class 6A state championship last season and returned a senior class that includes seven Division I commits.
The leader of the pack for the No. 3 Eagles is 6-foot-4 power forward Sa’Myah Smith, an LSU commit and a 4-star recruit, per ESPN. Smith has elevated her game as the Eagles have won their first three postseason games, earning her the honors of JWS Player of the Week.
“I have more of a ‘kill ‘em and win ‘em,’ mentality this season,” Smith said. “Winning a second [state title] in a row would be huge.”
On Feb. 17, in DeSoto’s 67-32 thrashing of Legacy (Tyler, Texas), Smith scored 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds and seven steals. Four days later, on the eve of Smith’s 18th birthday, she poured in 22 points and brought down 10 rebounds as the Eagles rolled past Lake Ridge (Mansfield, Texas), 63-28 and advanced to the Region II semifinals.
For all of Smith’s superlative feats, she’s hardly winning games by herself. Next season’s college basketball landscape will reflect that. Amina Muhammad, an Eagles forward, is committed to Texas. Post Tionna Herron is going to Kentucky. Wing Ayanna Thompson will play at Ole Miss. Wing Jiya Perry will continue her career at SMU. And guards Jamia Harris and Michayla Gatewood will team up next season at Kansas State.
“It’s pretty amazing if you think about it,” Smith said, “just knowing that any of us can go off for 20 [points] a night.”
The team has created palpable excitement around town. Even DeSoto Mayor Rachel Proctor is urging supporters to buy shirts celebrating the team.
🚨🚨🚨🚨 ATTENTION 🚨🚨🚨🚨Everyone has still been asking about the 75115 shirts and when they’re coming back. Well…THEY’RE BACK! You can now purchase 75115 shirts for $15 and play off shirts at the athletic office. Call Michelle at 972-274-8118 and get yours today! pic.twitter.com/pMJJxfPGIr— Rachel L. Proctor (@rachellproctor) February 23, 2022
🚨🚨🚨🚨 ATTENTION 🚨🚨🚨🚨Everyone has still been asking about the 75115 shirts and when they’re coming back. Well…THEY’RE BACK! You can now purchase 75115 shirts for $15 and play off shirts at the athletic office. Call Michelle at 972-274-8118 and get yours today! pic.twitter.com/pMJJxfPGIr
Still, it is Smith who is DeSoto’s engine. A versatile athlete who can finish and grab rebounds inside, Smith also is a skilled offensive initiator who often plays point-forward for the Eagles. In the offseason, she spent extra time working on her mid-range jumper, and that work has led to results this season.
She takes pride in her work ethic, picked up by osmosis on trips to her family’s farms growing up. As the lone girl, she was not required to do farm work, but she observed her brothers toiling in the summer sun and learned what it takes to get things done.
Smith brought that sense of purpose to the hardwood, where she’s made her family proud. She has big plans for the future, at LSU and beyond, but first, she wants to take care of business at DeSoto, starting with Friday’s clash against Tomball Memorial (Tomball, Texas).
There are four stops left on the Legacy Tour, with all roads leading to the Alamodome and the state championship game on March 5.
Josh Needelman is the High School Sports Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JoshNeedelman.