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Argyle High junior guard Sydney Standifer has returned to the Lady Eagles basketball team from a devastating ACL injury.

The 5-foot-8-inch floor general enjoyed a successful freshman season under head coach Chance Westmoreland, helping the program win its fourth consecutive state championship and her first as a prep player in 2018. But she was sidelined throughout her entire sophomore season.

Despite not joining her sisters on the hardwood to successfully preserve Argyle High’s chain of titles last spring, Standifer served a key inspirational role for the Lady Eagles. More notably, Clemson earned a verbal commitment from the soon-to-be third-year letter-winner.

She now has the opportunity to make up for lost time, as well as contribute to another title defense.

“She’s a really fierce competitor,” Westmoreland told Texas Scorecard. “She plays really hard. She practices hard. She’s really skilled offensively – she’s a good passer, she’s good shooter and [she] can attack the basket. Defensively, she creates a lot of havoc by getting steals. She’s just a very good all-around player who had a great freshman year, and last year, she had an unfortunate injury that caused her to miss a year. I know that she’s just ready to get back on the court, and we’re excited to have her back as well.”

In her debut season for the Lady Eagles, Standifer, while a teammate of her older sister Gabby, produced an impressive 15.4 points, 4.6 assists and 3.0 steals per game. The then-ninth grader earned Dallas Morning News SportDay’s Newcomer of the Year accolades while the Lady Eagles captured another Class 4A crown.

According to Westmoreland, Standifer has “earned the great opportunity” of playing for the Clemson’s women’s basketball team.

“I definitely think that she’ll be able to play at that level, and as a high school coach, I’m excited that we have her for two more years with our program,” he said.

He attributed Clemson’s “culture for athletics” to winning over his protégé.

“Overall, across the board, they have good programs and good facilities,” Westmoreland said. “It’s just a good fit for her.”

To say that Westmoreland is in a fortunate position – at the helm of one of the most successful girls basketball teams in Texas and possibly the whole nation – is an understatement. He assumed the role in the infancy of the Lady Eagles’ ongoing reign, which began in 2015. Depth, the coach said, figures significantly into Argyle’s success.

That is why, as terrible as it was to lose a stellar player like Sandifer, the Lady Eagles wholly embraced the “next woman up” mentality and marched all the way to Austin without skipping a beat.

“Anytime you lose a player of that caliber, it can be a challenge, but I was really proud of the kids we had last year because we stepped up,” Westmoreland said. “We had some kids who had to take on different roles and play bigger roles to get the job done and win the championship.”

Argyle would play at a faster pace when Standifer was on the floor, Westmoreland said. Her absence prompted him to employ a bigger lineup led by SMU commit and 5-foot-10-inch guard Rhyle McKinney. The rest was history.

Standifer’s return gives the Lady Eagles a huge boost. Westmoreland acknowledges that the team will have to be patient as she gets re-acclimated. According to the coach, her health is a top priority.

“The main thing is her health,” he said. “Anytime you miss a year with an ACL … it takes some time. But we have really good depth on our team so we’re going to be able to ease her back into her role. As the year goes on, she’s going to get more and more relaxed and comfortable out there.”

As of press time, Argyle was preparing for its Nov. 9 season opener against Idalou High.