Xylina Carlisle could hardly contain herself.
After anxiously waiting for days, the Copperas Cove senior’s moment finally arrived.
Carlisle, who contributed to turning the Lady Bulldawgs basketball program around following a two-year postseason absence, committed to play for Sul Ross State early Thursday evening, and by the time the signing ceremony arrived, Carlisle was almost ready to burst.
“I can’t believe this is real, and I’m going to college now,” she said.
“I’m excited. I’ve been real excited throughout the whole day. I was telling everyone, ‘I’m signing. Come to my signing tonight.’”
Many of the guard’s requests were fulfilled as numerous friends and family members converged on Killeen’s Clements Teen Center for the occasion, including Carlisle’s AAU coach Marlo Saunders, who was almost as enthusiastic as his standout player.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Xylina,” he said. “She has come a long, long way, and I’m just excited to have another player pursue her dreams of playing collegiate basketball.”
As a junior, Carlisle was used sparingly as the Lady Bulldawgs relied on the offensive firepower of then-senior Shawnte’ Goff, who averaged a team-high 14.4 points per game, leading the team to its first playoff appearance since 2010.
Last season, Carlisle emerged as a scoring threat under first-year head coach Eldridge McAdams, and as a complement to the post presence of Bryaunea Hall and leading scorer Brittany Gamble, giving Copperas Cove an added dimension offensively.
For Saunders, who coordinated the signing ceremony, the performances were not surprising.
“We always knew Xylina had the potential to be a good basketball player,” he said.
“She needed to believe in herself, and that is a lot of what our program is built on — building confidence and also getting better day by day, practice by practice and tournament by tournament.”
Despite Carlisle’s nine-point effort in a must-win regular season finale against Harker Heights, the Lady Bulldawgs fell just shy of returning to the playoffs. Nevertheless, she has happy recollections of her time spent playing for Copperas Cove.
“There are a lot of great memories,” Carlisle said. “The team and my family always hung out, so I’m going to miss everybody.”
Now, having already helped right the Lady Bulldawgs’ program, Carlisle believes she is capable of repeating the feat with the Lobos, who had an overall record of 1-24 during the 2013-14 season.
“They were looking for shooters, and I play that position,” she said. “I’ve watched them play, and they play my pace, so I’m excited about the future.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org