FLOWER MOUND - The basketball team from Flower Mound Marcus was paraded through the halls of McAuliffe Elementary, a reward for winning their second state championship in a row.

Afterward, senior guard Phil Forte was named to compete in the national three-point contest at the Final Four in New Orleans.

In front of a packed cafeteria full of elementary school kids, Forte was thankful.

I just want to thank my coaches, my teammates, Forte said. None of this is possible without you guys.

Forte was the Class-5A tournament MVP, scoring 24 points. He made four of six three-pointers, and all eight of his free throws. It wasn't by accident.

Speaking to the same group of kids, Flower Mound Marcus Coach Danny Henderson said, I'll just give you and idea, kids: Phil has had a routine for years now, where he makes - makes! - 600 three's a day, and many days he makes many more than that.

Later, at Marcus High School, Forte talked about when he decided to maximize his potential.

Coming into my freshman year in high school, I realized that I wanted to go straight basketball, Forte said. And for the level I wanted to play at, I knew it was going to take a lot of effort, a lot of hard work.

That level is Division-I basketball, and the 5-foot-10 Forte - who his coach said hasn't been blessed with height, speed, or athletic ability - has a scholarship to play at Oklahoma State.

After Marcus won its first state title a year ago, Forte took a couple days off. They were his first days off since two Christmases before, according to his dad.

Every day Forte shoots, which is nearly every day, Cooper Walls rebounds.

The latest is probably like midnight, Walls said, remembering the latest he's ever been called to rebound for Forte. He just goes, 'Coop, I need you up at the school to rebound, we have a big game coming up.' That's when I know I need to get up there.

The number of three-pointers Forte has made in a row during practice is incredible. His top consecutive streak during his senior year is 42. As a junior, he once made 57 in a row.

Compare that to Mavericks' guard Jason Terry, who told me recently that his best consecutive streak is 49 three-pointers in a row.

After interviewing Forte, he went through an abbreviated shooting session for us. It lasted about 15 minutes, during which Forte shot 154 three-pointers and made 129 - hitting 83 percent. At one point he made 23 in a row.

And when he takes a break, he shoots free throws. He made all 34 of those.

His coach has never had a player like him.

He has an amazing pursuit, a relentless pursuit of perfection when it comes to shooting the basketball, Henderson said.

If Forte can win that three-point contest in New Orleans, maybe McAuliffe Elementary will hold another parade.


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