There are few things in life that are more difficult to accomplish the second time around. Just ask Pittsburg girls coach Debra Manley.

After guiding Pittsburg to the Class 3A Region II tournament in Commerce at the end of the 2012 season, the Lady Pirates were set up for another deep playoff run.

It was up to Manley to challenge her team with the task of consecutive regional tourney appearances. Not only did Pittsburg accomplish that goal, the Lady Pirates finished just one game short of the state tournament.

And for that, Manley is the Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

“We had everybody coming back and knew we had a chance to (get back to regionals)," Manley said. "But I don’t know if they realized how hard it would be to do it again. We were very senior heavy, but it’s easier said than done. They bought into our mission and we got it done.”

Manley said the season's turning point came in the Lady Pirates' first of two District 13-3A matchups with Liberty-Eylau. Pittsburg earned a 56-46 win over the Lady Leopards, who had two Division I-bound guards.

“We did gain experience after that," Manley said. "We knew we could beat anybody after that, and I think it was a big turning point for us.”

Defense was the key that night for Pittsburg, and became a trademark of the Lady Pirates all season long.

“Sometimes we don’t have the best shooters or whatever," Manley said. "And until our shooting game developed early in the season, our defense was our best offense. We do concentrate on that a lot, we throw a lot of junk defenses at opponents.”