'6-4A champ' has nice ring to Trimble Tech girls

On Melanie Lane’s first day on the job as coach of Fort Worth Trimble Tech’s downtrodden girls basketball team, she noticed the players were very excited to see her.

The 6-foot-2 coach later learned, at age 24 and fresh out of UT-Arlington, she was mistaken for a transfer player.

Time has proven the girls had a right to be excited that day three years ago, even if it was for the wrong reason

With Lane injecting confidence into the Lady Bulldogs, Trimble Tech (22-9, 15-2) is assured of a share of the District 6-4A title and could clinch outright with a win over Fort Worth Dunbar on Thursday in the final game of the regular season.

A playoff trip is ahead, the second for Trimble Tech in Lane’s short tenure. Before she arrived, the program had gone almost a full two decades without reaching the postseason.

“The old saying about basketball being 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, I believe that,’’ Lane said. “When I got here, I couldn’t believe how little confidence the girls had in themselves. They were so scared of Dunbar back then. My message was it doesn’t matter who we step on the court against, you’ve got to know you’re great.’’

The Lady Bulldogs rely heavily on a couple of 5-foot-10 seniors, Anyssa Hoyle and Jasmine Robinson, as well as freshman guard Crystal Allen. Hoyle (Southern University) and Robinson (Cisco College) will be continuing basketball careers at the next level, and Lane flatly states that Allen is the best freshman in Fort Worth.

After reaching the playoffs in 2009 (and being dispatched in the opening round by eventual state finalist Mansfield Timberview), Tech slumped last season. Lane was on maternity leave for part of the season and injuries hit hard.

“We went through a lot last year, but the girls worked hard so we could get to this position,’’ Lane said.

“I keep telling them not everybody has the chance to say they’ve created history like this team can do at our school.’’