After falling 41-34 to Canyon in the 2015-2016 UIL 5A state championship game and 47-42 to Amarillo in the 2018-2019 UIL 5A state title game, Frisco Liberty finally earned its first season-ending championship in program history. The Redhawks surprised College Station 44-41 in Thursday's state semifinal and San Antonio Veterans Memorial 35-26 in Saturday's state title game to grab the 2019-2020 crown.
The first quarter of runs began with Frisco Liberty's early 6-2 start, but San Antonio Veterans Memorial ended the opening frame with the final nine. The Patriots were led by Texas A&M signee Sahara Jones because she scored eight of her game-high 15 points during this time and her first three-pointer gave her team its first lead at 8-6.
But, Frisco Liberty stormed back with its defense. The Redhawks only allowed two, five and eight points to San Antonio Veterans Memorial in the next three quarters. That allowed them to take the lead by halftime and start pulling away in the second half.
"It takes a mental fortitude [and] it takes competitive stamina," Frisco Liberty coach Ross Reedy said of his players' defense. "In a game of this magnitude, it's easy to get wide eyed, but I think they were composed."
VYPE Player of the Game Jazzy Owens-Barnett helped wrap up Frisco Liberty's state championship victory. She recorded five points on a pair of made field goals and a successful free throw attempt in the first three quarters before executing on seven of nine free throw attempts and another field goal in a nine-point final period. She finished with a team-high 14 points.
"It's bittersweet," said Owens-Barnett. "I'm so happy for the win and I'm super excited, but I want another one. I feel kinda greedy, so I'm ready to get back in the gym, get home and get to work."
Along with Owens-Barnett, Frisco Liberty also got an important 10-point outing from Maya Jain.
On Thursday night, Frisco Liberty (30-11) stormed back to steal a 44-41 overtime win against College Station (32-8) in the first 2019-2020 UIL 5A girls basketball state semifinal at San Antonio's Alamodome. The Redhawks advance to Saturday's 3 p.m. UIL 5A state championship game at the same site, and will face the San Antonio Veterans Memorial (31-7)/Mansfield Timberview (31-8) winner.
VYPE Player of the Game Lily Ziemkiewicz led the victor's charge by scoring 10 of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The opening quarter had little scoring, with College Station's 5-0 run to start the game edging Frisco Liberty's only basket at the 1:43 mark. The Cougars added five quick points in the first minute and 42 seconds of the second quarter to expand their lead to eight and nearly kept the pace en route to a 22-15 halftime advantage.
Frisco Liberty wasn't done, as evident by its 7-0 run to start the second half. That tied the score at 22, but College Station scored eight of the final 10 points of the third quarter to take back the lead. The Redhawks then leaned on Ziemkiewicz to force overtime and ultimately earn the late win. She nailed a three-pointer to give them a much-needed lead and Zoe Junior wrapped up her six-point outing with a pair of free throws in the extra period. In contrast, College Station's Aliyah Collins finished with a team-high 10 points, but split a pair of free throws that would've tied the game late.
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