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.
Entering this weekend's UIL State girls basketball final four, Cypress Creek had the best odds to win a state championship. The Cougars not only stormed into San Antonio's Alamodome with a perfect 40-0 season record, but their leading threesome of Kyndall Hunter, Rori Harmon and coach Jennifer Alexander was motivated to finish what it started after suffering a loss in the 2017-2018 UIL 6A state semifinal.
The group took care of business against McKinney as expected, but its close victory surprised fans across the state. One key factor in the tight battle was the lack of Harmon due to a broken "team violation". It resulted in an early nine-point deficit, but Hunter's game-high 31 points led Cypress Creek to a 54-51 win and earned her the VYPE Player of the Game honor.
"I knew that everyone's going to have to step up, even me," said Hunter. "I'm just so proud that my team, we all played our roles perfectly."
Ally Haman also contributed an important 11 points, which came in handy when Erin Fry's 16 points and Nic Porter's 12 nearly tied the game late for McKinney.
"I would put [my] kids up against anyone," Alexander said when asked how her team matches up with Converse Judson and Duncanville in Saturday's state championship game.
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