They played together basketball. They were precise and made sharp passes. They were good at taking shots. They made the most of them. They were passionate about protecting their property and pressed hard. They seemed to enjoy doing all of that. They won the State Class 3A Championship with a convincing 89-56 win over Independence. You can’t take it all from me. Vic Schaefer is the coach of the No. Vic Schaefer, coach of the No. 2 Mississippi State Bulldogs, sat and watched the game, smiling every time Choctaw Central attempted a better shot or when a Lady Warrior attempted to grab a loose ball. Schaefer stated, “They play the game as it should be played.” I just love watching them. They play so hard every single game.” This is the view of Independence coach Jerome Martin. He shook his head and said, “Man, you’re right, I thought we played well.” It’s possible to play better, but I don’t know how. They’re a fantastic team, and they did everything that they could. They are a great team and I would pay a lot to see them play. They are so good. They ended the season 34-1. The only loss was by two points to Memphis’ largest high school. Choctaw Central coach Bill Smith said, “Granted. I am prejudiced, but I believe that we are the best team in state.” “I believe we showed it today.” It is impossible to know how many points Choctaw Central would’ve scored if Smith had not pulled all his starters just two minutes, 48 seconds into the third quarter with the Lady Warriors leading 77 to 37. Smith also removed his second group with 5:31 remaining in the game, and continued the game with his third five. Darien Tubby (point guard) was one of seven seniors from Choctaw Central who won the C Spire Most Outstanding Player Award. She scored 17 points, passed out six assists and stole the ball six times. She also contributed four rebounds. She treats the basketball as an appendage and can make it do what she wants. Smith stated, “She’s our quarterback. She makes us go.” Darien Tubby was questioned about how this feeling. Tubby admitted that he was a bit sad. Tubby said, “This is my final game, my last chance at being part of this.” These four years have been so memorable.” She began basketball at age 4, as is the case for many of her fellow teammates. She said, “I’ve been dribbling for as long as my memory can remember.” Choctaw Central seniors were part of teams that won 123 games and lost 13. As sophomores, they competed for the state championship and won it as seniors and juniors. Smith, their coach said, “I don’t know what to say about them.” They are a special, special team.” Two of them have twins. No. 30. Kyannah Grant wears No. 32. You can distinguish them by their shots, other than their jersey numbers. Kyarrah, who shoots right-handed, made six out of eight three point shots and led the Lady Warriors’ scoring with 20 points. Kyannah, who shoots with her right hand, scored 13 points. She also had six rebounds and three assists as well as four steals. The Grants shot almost all didn’t touch metal and fell softly through the nets. Smith, their coach, stated, “That’s not an accident.” The twins are the first to arrive at the gym each day. Each day they shoot at least 500 shots. It paid off today, I would say.” The Choctaw Central full court press was also a major contributor to 16 steals and many points. It must have felt like 10 Lady Warriors were on the floor at once for the Independence Wildcats. It seemed as if Independence was turning into yet another Warrior trap every time they went. Smith, the demanding architect behind all this excellence is finishing his sixth year at Choctaw Central. This marks his 33rd year as a coach in the junior college and high school ranks. He knows what he’s doing. He knows that he is doing this at a special location. He said, “Basketball matters to these people.” “You could see the support today. The expectations are high. In the fourth grade, these kids begin playing 20 games in rec league every year. They love it and they show it.” Choctaw Central has many fans, even if they don’t live on the reservation. Vic Schaefer was one of them, and many others were there Saturday including the one who did the typing.