Just over a year ago, one of the most thrilling UIL girls basketball playoff games occurred on February 19th, 2019. Converse Judson ultimately leaned on Elena Blanding's game-winning shot to knock off Westlake 43-41 in the UIL 6A Region IV Quarterfinal at San Marcos High School. That turned into a signature moment in the program's state championship season.
On Saturday, the Rockets pulled out another thriller against Westlake to advance to their fourth straight UIL state final four. This time, they leaned on VYPE Player of the Game Kierra Sanderlin to erase a late 10-point deficit and win the 2020 UIL 6A Region IV final 50-47 at North East ISD's Jimmy Littleton Gymnasium. She nailed 11 free throws in a 19-point fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 30 points.
"We knew Westlake was going to jump on us quick," said Sanderlin. "We just knew it was a game of runs. So, whether they punched us, we're going to punch back and execute."
VYPE Player of the Game Kierra Sanderlin:19/30 pts in 4Q of Converse Judson’s 50-47 W against Westlake. Rockets hea… https://t.co/IRNYRW9wQZ— VYPE San Antonio (@VYPE San Antonio)1583013702.0
Besides an early 6-2 Converse Judson lead, the majority of the first three quarters saw a Westlake advantage. Texas signee Shay Holle scored all eight Chaparral points in the opening period to start her team on the right track and future Texas State Bobcat Presley Bennett kept the train rolling with all 13 of her points in the second and third quarters. That set up a 39-29 advantage for the Austin area team going into the fourth quarter.
Then, Sanderlin happened. She led Converse Judson's 21-8 fourth quarter surge, and her 26th point of the game gave the Rockets their first lead in awhile at a 44-43 score. She wasn't alone, as a pair of free throws wrapped up Amira Mabry's 13-point outing and gave the San Antonio area squad a 46-45 advantage.
"[My players] sat down [and] I looked every single one of them in the eye and I asked them if they were done," said Converse Judson head girls basketball coach Triva Corrales. "And they all said 'no' and I said 'then let's go to work' and they did."
Holle answered with a late field goal that extended her game point total to 21 points and allowed Westlake to hold a quick 47-46 lead, but Sanderlin's last four free throws flipped the score to the game-end result and wrapped up Converse Judson's third girls basketball playoff win against the Chaparrals in the last three seasons.
"It gives us a lot of momentum," Sanderlin said of the victory against Westlake. "We're going to execute and we're going fight til the end. Til the double zeros."
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VYPE editor Thomas Bingham, Hill Country Indoor sports director Evan Beyer and "Producer Josh" Waclawczyk continue their 2019-2020 sports coverage and share this week's "From The Bench" interview with Austin Achieve athletic director/boys basketball head coach Jordan Temple and senior basketball player DJ McDermott during the 22nd Locker Talk Austin/San Antonio episode. Thomas talks to the guests about their school's rise to UIL membership, how their campus is trying to stick out in the vast athletic and education scene, the heated playoff race featuring their 2019-2020 basketball team, and more.
Along with this, the hosts discuss notable area soccer and basketball matchups, continue their weekly pick 'em segment and remember the life of Kobe Bryant.