In the moment, there was frustration, sadness and probably a little anger.

The end of a season never comes easy.

Yet when the Desert Vista girls basketball team filters all of that through their system, the realization of what the Thunder accomplished this season should start to sink in.

The 77-39 loss to St. Mary’s in Monday’s Division I state quarterfinals might have been the end point for this season, but it is just the beginning for many.

“This game is not going to define our success,” Desert Vista coach Rachel Proudfoot said. “It’s truly meeting the goals that girls had set and coming back from a (12-16) season (last year) and turning it into 25-7.”

The Thunder lost its first two games of the year against quality opponents and then went on a tear, making the finals of the Nike Tournament of Champions and winning a tournament in Tucson.

The team came together and challenged everyone it faced with the Thunder’s patented fast-pace offense and defense that stretched the length of the court.

“They are a tough matchup,” St. Mary’s coach Curtis Ekmark said. “They had a good plan and took their timeouts well. They played us hard, but we can wear teams out. They have some good young players and they will be tough again.”

Desert Vista will bring back two starters in sophomore point guard Emily Wolph and junior guard Kylie Butler.

“We have a good relationship and we’ll be even better next year,” Wolph said.

Freshman post Kristine Anigwe, junior guard Jordan Bivens and junior guard Jayla Brown were usually the first off the bench.

“It’s a regroup, not a rebuild,” Proudfoot said. “We have a great group of players coming back. It is going to be a good situation.”

The senior class — Sarah Lynde, Tinisha Toussaint, Jaymee Brugman and Emily Thornton — will be sorely missed, of course, especially since they are the first group to spend all four years with Proudfoot running the program.

“They’re my babies,” Proudfoot said. “They helped shaped this program to what it is today. Just wished we could have been here (postseason) a few more times so they could have shared what it was like with the others.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSKodaAFN.

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