HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Laurel Lady Tornadoes are making their mission known loud and clear. A trip to Jackson for the state tournament is the sole focus.
The belief surrounding this program is strong.
"We're really close," Laurel sophomore post Mia Moore said. "Really, really close. And I think we're going to win state."
The belief displayed by her players offers encouragement for first year Lady Tornado coach Alphaka Moore.
"Because they believe," Moore said. "As long as they believe we can do anything. "We've had a couple games where they may have gotten rattled but they always bounced back. They've always kept their eyes on the prize. And that was really working toward this part of the season."
This belief is what Moore knew needed to be strengthened in order to get the program steered in the right direction.
"This program has always had athletes," Moore said. "One of the things that we had to improve on is mindset. This year, like the girls said, they really have a strong mindset. It's positive. It's constantly encouraging. And it's an outlook that is to improve the thought of girls athletics here at Laurel."
Moore is sort of an expert on Laurel hoops. She's a former player, returning home after coaching stops at Natchez and union.
"When you're coming home you're main goal is to make sure that you put the kids in the best position to be as successful as possible," Moore said. "And we have really good athletes so my job was to first make them believe in themselves and take them as far as they're willing to go."
Senior guard Tamirra Haskin is Laurel's standout. Having not gone past the second round in her career, she can feel this time being different.
"The mentality of the players and the will to win," Haskin said of the change. "And the coaching patterns."
The Lady Tornadoes got an opening round68-54 win over Stone Monday. Up next is a trip to Pascagoula Friday. One step closer to completing their mission.
"We have all the assets," Mia Moore said. "We got everything to win state. We just have to work together as a team."