The Life High School Mustangs basketball team notched its district 12-3A best 11th straight win on Friday night, beating Sunnyvale High School 66-51 at Life High School Gymnasium.
The win, which kept Life High School undefeated, was the lynchpin in their journey to finish the district as the No. 1 team and win the district title.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but what I love about these kids is they’re not satisfied,” Mustangs head basketball coach Eddie Berumen said. “They have that hunger and want to be the best team we’ve ever had at Life High School. I believe that’s one of the major reasons for our success so far.”
The Mustangs’ tradition, it seems, lays the foundation for future success.
Since Berumen started Mustang’s basketball program eight years ago as a transplant Cedar Hill High School assistant coach, he has compiled 194-78 overall and 71-24 district records, including an undefeated campaign in 2010, the season Life High School went to the playoffs for the first time.
A long way since he and his team’s 12-17 start in 2008.
Berumen said the combination of he and his staff’s unwillingness to except excuse or mediocrity and the player’s continuous, full buy-in to the program’s guidelines has fueled sustained success.
“Our senior leadership has been huge,” he continued. “They’ve given up the ‘me’ for the ‘we.’ Seniors may pout about their playing time somewhere else, but they don’t do it here. These guys have bought in and know if they work hard, they’re a part of every win as much as everyone else on the team who played more than them.
“It’s crucial that type of buy-in happen for sustained success to occur. I guess it’s easy for me because we have great players and kids, but they all understand no one person is more important than the team.”
The journey through Berumen’s system has been a long one for sophomore Joshua Sanders, who scored 25 points and pulled down 11 rebounds during the 15-point win. He has been a part of the Mustang’s winning tradition since they started making playoff runs in 2011.
He, sophomores Joshua Nimmer and Robin White, as well as junior Daniel Nguyen, are only a few of the players to benefit from Berumen’s system of accountability and success.
“It feels great to have this kind of success, especially since we’re so young,” Sanders said. “The people I’m with, I’ve been around since seventh grade. It feels good to be able to win with them.”
Sanders said it’s his team’s goal not only to finish their season undefeated, but also to make it further than the regional semifinals — the farthest the program has made in its history.
“If we can accomplish our goal of winning a state title, it shows the state the type of leadership and character that comes out of a school like ours,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about and what we’re based on here.”