SAN ANTONIO, Texas—If you’ve done something for 67 years, chances are you’re doing it pretty well. This past weekend the 2017 University Interscholastic League State Tournament once again provided one of the nation’s premier settings for girl’s high school basketball. Over three days of competition in San Antonio’s Alamodome, six classifications took the floor in search of the coveted bragging rights for the Lone Star State.
Among the line-up were four teams who returned to San Antonio in hopes of defending their 2016 crowns (Weimar-2A, Canyon-3A, Argyle-4A, Duncanville-6A). Four other participants repeated the trip as well looking to find happier results than those they went home with a year ago. Day one semifinal action belonged to the 1A, 3A and 5A classes while Friday’s action pitted the even number classifications with all leading into Saturday’s final card of six championship bouts.
In 12 semifinal games Thursday and Friday the average margin of victory was a bloated 21 points per game with only four of those contests having single digit gaps when the final buzzer sounded. Saturday provided the exact opposite with all six championship match-ups going to the wire with an average margin of only 6.2 points and just two game hitting double digits (10 and 11) the result of the foul parade down the stretch. Saturday also provided a “fourpeat” from Canyon in the 5A class and a “threepeat” from Argyle in 4A while Duncanville got their fourth 6A title in six seasons by claiming their second in a row. Not to be outdone, Nazareth goth their third 1A crown in four years after coming up short a year ago in the 2016 final.
Today we take a look at those championship match-ups and results. Check back with Blue star Media later in the week for some player profiles and images from the 2017 UIL Texas Girls basketball State Tournament.
Neither Nazareth or Dodd City were challenged in their semifinal match-ups Thursday with the Swifettes beating Slocum by 32 and the Lady Hornets getting by Garden City with a comfortable 23 point cushion. Saturday’s final was a whole different game all together. Nazareth held a two point edge after one period but saw Dodd City tie things up as both teams went to the locker room tied at 22. Nazareth was making their fourth consecutive championship appearance and that experience showed in the third as they opened up a nine point lead at 34 – 25 entering the final period. Dodd City picked up three over the last minutes but could get no closer than six as they fell 48 – 42 in the end.
Nazareth was actually outrebounded in the contest by five but committed just nine turnovers while Dodd City gave it up 18 times. The Swiftettes shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in the contest but it was enough as the Lady Hornets were ice cold at 28.2 percent.
MVP Allie Schulte was 4 of 7 from the floor including 3 for 5 from deep to lead the way with 13 in the win. Junior Kinzi Cleavinger had 12 while another senior, Abby Schmucker, added 11. Schulte led the way on the glass with 8 rebounds. Lindsay Carter, a senior, had 14 in the loss while classmate Olivia Hilliard had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Fallon Hilliard, also a 2017, added 12 rebounds and 6 points.
While Martin’s Mill never led in the second half of their 2A battle with Panhandle the game was in legitimate doubt until the final seconds. The Lady Mustangs scrapped and competed and had the lead cut to just four with 30 seconds on the clock before falling 50 – 43 to the Pantherettes. The first period saw the lead go back and forth before Panhandle claimed a one point lead after eight minutes. Panhandle gradually upped the margin to five at the half but had to battle tooth and nail to do so. They added three more to the gap in the third before holding off an epic attack from Martin’s Mill in the fourth. The Lady Mustangs faced twelve different one possession scenarios before finally falling by a painful seven points in the end.
Panhandle’s path to the final was a challenging eight point win over the defending champs from Weimer while Martin’s Mill cruised past Woden by 25 on their way to Saturday’s contest.
In the final Panhandle dominated the boards grabbing 39 rebounds (Including 12 on the offensive end) to just 21 for Martin’s Mill. They did, however, commit double the turnovers (16 – 8) but still managed to grab the crown. In the win Panhandle shot 17 for 43 from the floor while Martin’s Mill came home at 15 of 46. There were no significant differences from behind the arch or at the line.
Three players were in double figures for the champs with MVP Grace Kuehler (2018) leading the way with 11. Fellow junior Rylee Albracht and sophomore Lainey Choate each added 10 of their own. Martin’s Mill had a pair of their own hit double figures as senior Hailey Celsur and junior Calli Camacho both finished with 10 points each in the loss.
Saturday’s 3A championship game was a great battle of two evenly matched teams. Buffalo made their way into the final with a seven point win over Mt. Vernon while Canadian demolished Goliad by 42 points. The Lady Bison jumped out to a three point lead after the first period only to see the Lady Cats claw (sorry!) back to hold a 24 – 23 lead at the break. Buffalo responded in the third retaking the lead by way of a 14 – 10 period taking a 37 – 34 lead into the final quarter. Unfortunately, nine turnovers in the final eight minutes of play negated a 5 of 9 team shooting effort and a 13 – 9 edge on the glass allowing Canadian to regroup and grab a 51 – 49 win and the 3A bragging rights. Five of those lethal turnovers came in the last minute and a half of play.
For the game, Canadian led the way in the rebound department 38 – 36 and committed three less turnovers than their counterparts (17 – 20). Buffalo outshot Canadian connecting on 16 of 43 for 37.2 percent while the Lady Bison were 19 for 54 and 35.2 percent. The Lady Cats were 3 of 10 from deep while Canadian was 0 for 9 in their long ball efforts. Neither team lit it up at the line with Buffalo finishing 14 for 21 and Canadian 13 of 25.
After a slow start (Just four first half points) MVP Haevyn Risley, a senior, led the way for the Lady Cats with 20 but shot just 7 for 19. Junior forward Emily Alexander followed with 17 points and 8 rebounds along with a 7 for 14 effort from the floor. Dynamic senior point guard Jordan Jenkins paced the Lady Bison with 20 on 8 for 20 shooting but did turn it over 7 times. Freshman interior presence Mollie Dittmar barley missed a double-double posting 18 points and 9 rebounds in the loss. Dittmar was 6 for 7 from the floor and 6 of 8 at the line.
Argyle had the easier path to the 4A championship game with a 40 point win over Wharton while Liberty Hill had to hold off Godley by four prior to moving on in the bracket. The Lady Eagles had a much harder time Saturday as the Panthers weren’t about to hand Argyle their third consecutive title without a battle. The low scoring affair came out of the gate slow with things all tied up after one at seven apiece. Argyle then “exploded” for 10 whole points in the second to hold a whopping 17 – 13 edge at the half. They added two more to the margin in the third and led 28 – 22 going into the final period. While the ultimate margin may have been 10, Liberty Hill cut the difference to a single possession twice before falling 40 – 30 when all was said and done.
Argyle had a seven rebound edge on the glass but turned it over one more time than the Panthers (14-13). Both teams were frosty from the floor to say the least. The Lady Eagles were just 11 for 30 from the floor for 30.6 percent while Liberty Hill struggled more at 27.3 percent from a 12 for 44 outing. The Panthers had one more field goal but were 3 of 14 from deep while the Lady Eagles went 5 for 11. A telling factor can be found at the free throw line as Argyle connected on 13 of their 21 attempts while Liberty Hill was just 3 for 4.
MVP and senior standout Vivian Gray once again led the way with a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds offsetting her 5 for 19 shooting and 6 turnovers. Fellow senior Gabby Standifer had 12, the result of a 4 of 9 three point effort. In the loss highly regarded junior Sedona Prince had a double-double of her own posting 10 points and pulling 13 rebounds. While Prince was 5 of 12 from the floor her teammates combined shot just 7 for 32 accounting for the limited scoring in the end.
There really can’t be much left to be said about a program who just won four state titles in a row and their coach who has well over a thousand victories and leads the country’s active coaches in total wins. If Timberview was intimidated by Canyon and Joe Lombard’s success you wouldn’t know it. They rolled into the final with a 25 point semifinal win over Corpus Christi Flour Bluff while the Lady Eagles got past Charli Collier and Barbers Hill by 27. Scoring wasn’t an issue early in this one as indicated by the 17 – 16 score after one in Canyon’s favor. Timberview roared back in the second to grab the lead and take a 31 – 24 edge into the locker room at the half. Ice settled in on the rims in the third for both teams with Canyon cutting into Timberview’s lead by way of an extensive 8 to 6 scoring margin. Time and again Timberview looked to be poised to run away with things in the fourth only to see Canyon, or themselves, stop the run. Foul issues, composure and an opportunistic Canyon team capitalized to finally take the lead at the 1:07 mark and hold on for a 47 – 45 win.
Canyon was outshot from the floor (47.7% to 45.2%) and turned the ball over 9 more times (21 to 12) yet still managed to claim the win. They did hold a 25 – 21 edge on the boards and went to the line 23 times to just 7 for Timberview.
Senior guard and 5A MVP Angel Hayden had a deceiving day posting 16 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing off 4 assists. However, she shot just 2 for 7 and turned the ball over five times. Fellow senior Taylor McKenzie added 13 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 6 for 8 from the floor. With her play limited by careless fouls, standout guard Chennedy Carter led Timberview with 18 points while knocking down 8 of her 16 shot attempts. Her defense was restrained for fear of fouling out which she did at a critical juncture with 2:20 remaining and holding a three point lead. No one else hit double digits in scoring for the Wolves but senior Taylah Thomas did grab 10 rebounds.
In looking to win their fourth title in six years, Duncanville has hung a target on their back and Cypress Ranch was looking to take a shot at it. The Pantherettes made their way to a title defense by virtue of a 17 point win over Pflugerville while Cy-Ranch beat a game Converse Judson squad by 12. Out of the gate the Lady Mustangs were looking to make a statement of their own and rolled to a 19 – 12 edge after one period of play. Duncanville wasn’t going to concede anything on the basis of eight minutes and responded with a 21 -12 second quarter holding a slim 33 – 31 edge at the break. Both teams continued to score effectively but Duncanville added to their lead taking a 57 – 49 lead into the final stanza. While Cy-Ranch never went away, they were never able to take the lead or even cut it to a single possession in the fourth ultimately falling 76 – 65.
The Pantherettes led on the glass 43 – 39 with 16 of those coming on the offensive end. To their credit, Cy-Ranch had 13 offensive boards of their own. Duncanville took care of the ball turning it over just 4 times while forcing the Lady Mustangs into 13 miscues. Duncanville was 27 of 66 for 40.9 percent while Cy-Ranch came home at 36.7 percent on 22 for 60 shooting. The long ball was the story of the night with the Lady Eagles connecting on 11 of 30 and Duncanville making 9 for 26. Ariana Whitfield of Cy-Ranch set a UIL single game state tournament record for made threes with her 8 for 16 effort from downtown. Duncanville’s Aniya Thomas wasn’t far behind with her own high arching 5 of 11 long ball production.
In the win Duncanville junior MVP Zay Green put up 25 points while grabbing 7 rebounds. Thomas, a junior, followed with 19 and 7 boards of her own. Athletic junior Starr Jacobs contributed a double-double as well with 17 points and 11 rebounds along with a 7 for 14 shooting effort. Point guard Nina Alvarez had 7 assists and zero turnovers as well. Whitfield, a senior, finished with 32 points in the loss on 10 of 22 shooting. Classmate DiDi Richards had 16 points and 9 rebounds as well as three blocks on the defensive end of the floor.
Again, check back with Blue Star Media later this week for more from the UIL Texas State Tournament.