The four seniors will step on the court for the final time, under a banner showing their accomplishments with one more postseason appearance to come.
Zya Nugent does so as Denison’s newly-minted all-time leading scorer, setting the mark on Friday as she nears 2,800 career points.
Zachareia Sommers does so as another four-year starter, trying to finish with a flourish after missing half her senior year with a broken kneecap.
Zaycia Guthrie does so as the third four-year member of the varsity, working to earning eventually earn a starting role.
Ikia Lacy does so after being a three-year starter after transferring for her sophomore year.
As part of the greatest stretch seen in Lady Yellow Jackets hoops history, the quartet looks to end on a high note as Denison (20-11, 7-2) hosts Sherman (7-24, 0-9) to close out District 10-5A action at 6:15 p.m. tonight.
“We have four really, really good athletes. They’ve put in the work,” Denison head coach Rod Been said. “They came along behind a class that helped set the stage. When Ikia came in she added another element.”
They can already claim the most playoff wins in program history (three) with two of them last year during the best season by Denison — 31-5 with a region quarterfinal appearance and an outright district title. They are headed to the playoffs for the third straight year, a streak matched only by the 2004-06 squads.
When the teams met last month, Sherman hung tough for two and a half quarters before Denison broke the game open on the way to an 81-46 victory. The Lady Jackets were up five at half-time and by just three in the middle of the third quarter before outscoring the Lady Bearcats, 45-15, over the final 12 minutes.
“They would love to send us into the playoffs off a second loss. We need to get back on track going into the playoffs,” Been said. “I told my girls they better have their heads screwed on straight. We have to focus on not letting the distractions get to us.”
Nugent scored a career-high 43 points, 28 coming in the second half, to go with 20 rebounds, eight steals and five assists, Sommers added 14 points and Jade Fry chipped in eight points as Denison won its sixth straight in the rivalry.
Libby Ticknor and Kursten Alexander each had 11 points, Amiah DeHorney chipped in seven points and Sa’Nyah Hunter totaled five points for Sherman.
Denison is locked into the second seed for the playoffs after its 54-51 loss against Wylie East on Friday. The Lady Raiders are the only team to beat the Lady Jackets in district play and held on to avoid the potential of sharing the district championship and go to a tie-breaker for the top seed.
Nugent scored 19 points and passed Shayla Moore’s record of 2,777 career points from 2002-06. She will be honored on Tuesday for an accomplishment she had hoped to set on the floor where so many of those points were produced.
“It’s going to be a fun night,” Been said. ” It always is with Sherman.”
Denison will open the playoffs with a bi-district match-up against Frisco Centennial at 7 p.m. on Monday at Anna.
The Lady Bearcats are coming off their best performance during district play in a 49-41 loss against McKinney North, which is tied with Lovejoy for third place.
Ticknor scored 13 points while Alexander, Jadyne Gatewood and Hunter all finished with seven points for Sherman.
It has been a struggle for the Lady Bearcats since the season-opening loss of senior guard Jaylen Edmonson to a knee injury but there have been some bright spots for the future of the program, including Gatewood’s emergence early in the year and Hunter moving up from the junior varsity during the past month.