Cherry Downs Earns 200th Win as Beckville Advances to Regional Semis
LONGVIEW -- Cherry Downs didn't expect it this soon.
Beckville fans were asked to stick around a little longer after their team's victory on Tuesday.
Beckville did what it normally does, sweeping Winona at LeTourneau University to advance to the 3A regional semifinals. The match was over quickly. Other than it being a playoff victory, there seemed to be nothing significant about it.
Unless you were Downs.
Downs, who is in her sixth season as coach of Beckville, notched her 200th career victory. She was presented with a plaque and a bouquet of multicolored flowers. She posed for several pictures, both with fans and her team, after the game.
Going into the game, it was reasonable to expect victory No. 200. Going into the season, though, that was a different story.
"Honestly, when the season started I noticed I was at 160 wins," Downs said. "I remember discussing with my husband, 'Oh, I'm pretty close to 200.' I never even checked up on 100. I don't know when it happened. I remember saying to my husband, 'I'm getting close to 200, but it won't be this season,' because I never expected to win every game we played.
"Huge surprise to get there this season. The thought of having to process no losses (this season) is just astounding. The glory goes to God and the girls."
The game began as most have this season for Beckville.
It jumped out to a 14-4 lead and never looked back. Miranda Mize was solid for Beckville (40-0) throughout the set, and finished with the block to give her team a 25-13 win.
When Beckville scored the first three points in the second set, it looked to be headed toward another easy victory. However, Winona came alive to make things interesting.
Nichole Garrett led Winona (32-7), coming up with several key plays to change momentum. She finished the set with three kills and two blocks.
The set was tied at 15 when Beckville decided to take over. It scored three straight, two kills coming from Riley Seegers, and never trailed again, winning 25-20.
Downs said she never doubted her team, but that the test it faced in that set will be a learning experience as it advances deeper into the playoffs.
"We've played a lot of matched that were tight," she said. "The girls have proved they can come back if they continue to work. I never felt like they would let it slip away. Sometimes it's good for them to play that type of game."
The final set was close in the beginning, Winona refusing to go down without a fight. However, Beckville went on a 10-0 run with it already up 8-6 to take a 12-point lead. After that, there was no question who would advance.
Beckville won that set, 25-13.
Seegers led the team in kills with nine, and finished with two digs and a block. Hannah Humphries and Jordan Tondreau were next with eight kills apiece. Payton Jones had seven kills to go with 12 digs. Kindly Pepper led the team in assists, finishing with 39.
Mize showed her continued improvement, finishing with six kills, four digs and a block. Downs said that because Mize is only a sophomore, having a game like this in the playoffs is huge for her development as a player.
"To be a sophomore, every game is a learning experience," Downs said. "With each game, she gets a little bit better. That's the positive note. She continues to improve with each game. She looks up to the older girls around her and they push her to get better.
"She's got room to grow and she's growing."
Beckville will face Gunter at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Midlothian High School for a chance to advance to the regional finals.