The only time T'ona Edwards has ever cried after a basketball game was following Northeast's 38-36 loss to Fairview in last year's Class 2A state championship game.
Northeast seemingly was in command when Fairview went on a 10-1 scoring run to close out the game. Northeast didn't score a basket in the final five minutes.
“I felt like at the end of the game I let my team down,” Edwards said.
It was a tearful Northeast locker room after the game, she said.
“I was crushed,” Edwards said. “It was the most emotional I have been and the worst feeling I have ever felt in basketball. That's the worse way to lose.”
Edwards has led the Lady Vikings back in the Class 2A state tournament this season. A four-year starter for Northeast, the 5-foot-5 guard leads the team in scoring, averaging 17 points per game.
Northeast coach Londaryl Perry said Edwards will play at the next level. She is getting attention from several schools, including the University of Oklahoma and Oral Roberts University, he said.
“She is truly a natural athlete but what makes her so good, honestly, is her ability to see,” Perry said. “She can see a play happening before it happens. She has a knack for it.”
Northeast (27-0) will enter Thursday's state tournament as the top-ranked team in Class 2A, opening with a 7 p.m. contest against Preston at Westmoore High School.
The Lady Vikings return four starters from last year's club and a potential rematch with Fairview is looming in the state semifinals.
Edwards admits she's been thinking about the possibility of playing Fairview again.
Northeast is a more determined team after what happened to the Lady Vikings last year in the state championship game, she said.
“There is a lot of heart on our team,” Edwards said. “We don't give up. We got there (to the finals) last year, but we didn't get what we wanted.
“We know how it feels to lose. We are not going to let that happen again this year.”