COLLEGE STATION - Leyla Ertan knew that this season was going to be different.
After making it to the TAPPS 5A State Championship game and losing the starting five to graduation, heading into the 2020-2021 season, the outside expectations of Second Baptist School women's basketball may not have been high.
But somebody forgot to tell the team that they weren't supposed to make this kind of run.
Second Baptist School with just one senior gracing the roster, rumbled its way through the district slate and then the playoffs to play Southwest Christian School for the TAPPS 5A State Championship on Friday night at College Station High School.
Despite a third-quarter rally fueled by Kate Marshall and company, Second Baptist School fell short, 54-40, ending its season as the TAPPS 5A State Runner-Up for a second-straight season.
"Last season it was almost expected that we would go to state," Ertan said. "This season was different. Everyone told us it was going to be a rebuilding year. Just to make it to the state championship game, I'm so proud of my girls."
Leading this young group - including a freshman starting point guard in Olivia Sauvageau - was a role that Ertan had to grow into this season she admitted.
But when it was all over, Ertan wouldn't have changed any part of her senior season.
"To lead them and to grow into a vocal leader and leading by example, it is just the greatest blessing I could have asked for for my senior year," she said.
At the end of the game, every player took the walk from the free-throw line out to Herndon, who was waiting to drape a red ribboned medal around each player's neck.
When it was Ertan's turn the senior gave Herndon a smile. They hugged. The coach spoke a few words into her ear before she patted him on the back and walked away.
"First off, it's incredibly hard when she walks towards me and I have to give her her medal," Herndon said. "Also that she stayed so late at practices with me t the end of the year to soak it all up. She didn't want it to ever end. Losing her is a big deal but she taught the younger girls how to lead."
This trip to the TAPPS Final Four marked the fourth-straight trip for Second Baptist School and a second-straight run to the TAPPS State Championship game.
For Ertan, when asked what this program has meant to her the word that she led with - Family.
"Four years fly by so fast," Ertan said. "It's been a complete blessing to know these girls over the past four years. They grow to be exactly like family. So, to have a second family and come back next year and watch them play, I'm just so excited."
With the majority of his roster coming back, Herndon is excited about the future of this program.
"Those young girls we have the seed planted early for them," he said. "So, we're ready to pick up where we left off."