In the locker room following their area tournament elimination in 2012, Tulsa Washington's Kaylan Mayberry and MiKayla Alexander got together for a talk.
“I just can't wait until next year,” Alexander told Mayberry after the Hornets failed to make the state tournament for the first time in more than a decade.
“Me too,” Mayberry responded with a nod.
Mayberry took full advantage of her senior season, lifting Tulsa Washington first back to the state tournament and then to a state title.
Along the way, Mayberry earned Oklahoman Super 5 honors.
“Being confident was a big part of it,” Mayberry said. “When I figured out that we could actually do something this year — that we could actually go and win it — that confidence came.”
Being eliminated last season fueled Mayberry and the Hornets — and spurred coach Annette Kennedy to push her team harder.
“In the beginning, I didn't know what she was doing,” Mayberry said. “Everything was just extra hard. If we played bad, practices would be terrible. Sometimes she would come in and just yell and run us and scream.
“Then I figured out she knew how much potential we had and that's why she was doing it.”
Mayberry's father, Lee, won a state title at Tulsa Rogers before going on to star at Arkansas and play in the NBA for seven seasons.