Standing near the top of the mountain

Phil Riddle phil.riddle@empiretribune.com Twitter @ETSports
Tarleton senior Davene Carter (40) has participated in the NCAA tournament for all four years he's been with the Texans.

Sometimes when you’re standing near the top of the mountain, you might forget how difficult the climb was.

But Tarleton State coaches Lonn and Chris Reisman are well aware that getting to the Elite Eight is difficult, to say the least.

Head Coach Lonn Reisman, who has stood the sidelines for more than 1,000 games, is aware that making it to this point in the postseason takes hard work, determination, skill and some luck.

And it’s still hard to get there

“I’ve been here a long time,” Lonn Reisman said, “and I look up at those banners and I know how close we were a couple of times to getting to the Elite Eight.”

The Texans were within three seconds of advancing as regional champions in 2008 when they lost at the buzzer to Central Oklahoma.

“You don’t realize how hard it is to get there,” he said. “This is the fourth time we played (the South Central regional) at home. I didn’t want to go 0-4.”

All told, Reisman and the Texans have been to the regional finals six times and won half of them. Better than most programs, no doubt, but getting close magnifies the difficulty in getting a championship.

As an example, he used one of his seniors, all-region performer Davene Carter.

“He has been here four years,” the coach explained. “He’s been to every NCAA tournament but never been to the Elite Eight. “

Coach Reisman’s son Chris, the team’s associate head coach, agrees with his dad about the issues in regularly getting to this point in the season.

He said that’s all the more reason to enjoy the experience.

“It feels great,” he said. “Early in my career, we hosted a couple of (regional tournaments) and went to two Elite Eights and I was thinking, ‘This is great. This is something that happens all the time.'

“Seven years passed and we had a chance to play in this game four times and three times out of four we didn’t win that game. Last year we go 27-2 and we don’t host it."

With their third trip to the Elite Eight coming up, Chris Reisman admits the team wants more than another Elite Eight appearance.

“We’re still hungry,” he said. “We’re not ready for the season to be over. You never know when you’re going to get back. This is not something that happens all the time.

“You don’t understand how much has to go right. You just don’t know. “