ATHENS, Texas — Just like the Prince song goes... it's time to party like it's 1999 in Athens!
That was the last year that both the Trinity Valley Community College men's and women's basketball programs won Region XIV. Now, for the 10th time in school history, they've earned spots into the national tournament.
"The success of the college and the people here is huge," said Cardinals Head Coach Mark Leslie. "With the support we get year in and year out, we expect to win."
The men's team enters the tournament with a 14-18 record. However, it isn't indicative of the season they've had. They forfeited eight games earlier in the year due to an ineligible player. But in true March Madness fashion, they got hot at the right time. Now, their goal is to stay hot when it matters most.
"We just took it one game at a time. Every game meant the world to us because we know that if you win, you stay," said Region XIV Tournament MVP MJ Leslie. "But if you lose, you go home. So, each game got more difficult. But we were ready for the challenge."
The women's team is certainly no stranger to success. They boast an impressive 31-2 record. Even more impressive, this is their 16th straight national tournament appearance.
Head Coach Precious Ivy is in her third year at the helm of the Lady Cardinals. She's been through the gauntlet of Region XIV, and she knows that coming out of that schedule on top will prepare you for anything.
"Everybody knows that it's one of the best conferences in the country. Every night we have to come in and play," Ivy said. "These girls are battle tested and their work has paid off. We just have to continue what we're doing."
One thing will continue to remain the same at Trinity Valley: the standard of success.
"When you're at Trinity Valley, this is expected. If you look around our gym, there's banners, trophies," Ivy said. "It's a pleasure that we're part of this tradition and culture. And my goal is to hang another banner."