MANOR, Texas —
The Manor Mustangs don't have the state ranking, the tradition, nor the history of a state tournament team.
"When i was here, my freshman year, we didn't even make playoffs," said sophomore guard Augustine Arroyo. "So to jump from here and being able to play for state means a lot to me."
Patterns can change in one season. Manor went from a no-show in last year's postseason, to it's first ever state appearance this year. It all started with a new off-season program crafted by second year head coach Anthony Swain.
"It was really tough," said junior guard Jamal Shead. "7 a.m. practices, 6 a.m. practices, after school everyday."
"There were a lot of moments I was wondering, 'is this for me? I thought it was just basketball,'" Arroyo said.
What these guys learned was the difference between playing basketball and winning.
"A lot of kids want to show up in October and play basketball," Swain said, "But I tell them you win games during the season from the work you put in from March until October."
The Mustangs hit some road bumps along the way, suffering ten losses this season, but their resiliency is what granted them access to the Alamodome.
"It's very rewarding, because I try to teach young men that sometimes in life you're going to have some struggles," Swain said. "Some hard things are going to come up and you just push and push and push, that it's going to be OK. It's going to pay off."
The Mustangs will look to cash in this week in San Antonio. Manor will clash with Mansfield Timberview in the class 5A state semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Alamodome.