The Duncan Banner
When the Duncan Lady Demons took home their first state title under Phil Barnes two weeks ago, the team added yet another accomplishment to a program where championships have become the expectation.
Throughout the last five decades, the Lady Demons have found constant success on the state level, winning two titles in the 1990’s and 1970’s.
“To reach the level of a state championship, it takes years of building a program,” Demons coach Phil Barnes said following the team’s state title. “Those girls that came before this year played a huge role in us reaching this point.”
Duncan took home its first ever state title thirty eight years ago, winning for the first time under the guidance of coach Peggy Hoover.
Two years later, the Lady Demons were led by a different coach but found the same level of success, as Beverly Barger led the team to a championship in 1977.
The Lady Demons returned to the promised land in the early 1990’s, taking state in both 1992 and 1994 with coach Dennis Loafman leading the way.
Under Barnes, who took over the Duncan girls tennis coach in 1998, the Lady Demons had been in the hunt all of the last decade, finishing as the Class 5A runner ups in five of the last six seasons.
The 2013 title came with extra historic meaning, as the Lady Demons became the first Class 5A public school to win a state title since 1998 and made it to the finals in all four events at state for the first time in school history.
“It’s just a great feeling. There’s been so much heartache, we’ve been second so many times. I wouldn’t call it relief, I was just tired of being second,” Barnes said. “There’s only one team in the state can say ‘we did everything we could, we were the best we can be’ and this year that’s us I couldn’t be more proud of the girls.”