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.
Her sister, Taleya, helped the Hornets win a pair of state titles and just finished a standout career at Tulsa.
Lee tried to make sure that none of his children felt pressure to live up to his accomplishments, especially on the basketball court.
“I always let them know that they didn't have to try to be Lee Mayberry,” Lee said. “And with Kaylan, don't try to be Lee, don't try to be Taleya. Create your own identity and just be Kaylan Mayberry.”
Kaylan has certainly made her own way.
She's more laid-back and quiet on the court than her older sister.
But she's equally effective.
In the state tournament, her outside shooting helped lift the Hornets to wins over Southmoore in the first round and then Bixby in the championship game. In the semifinals, an upset over top-ranked Edmond Santa Fe, it was her defensive pressure than helped the Hornets pull off the win.
She's also found her own way at the next level, after recently committing to Oral Roberts.
“It's kind of exciting for me because I've been everywhere she's been since I was young,” Mayberry said. “I finally didn't follow after my sister. I finally went the opposite direction.”