It didn't matter if Duncanville faced Cypress Creek star Rori Harmon in Saturday's UIL 6A girls basketball state championship game. The Pantherettes were on a mission to top their 26th UIL state final four appearance with their 11th state title in the sport.
Harmon, who missed Friday's state semifinal against McKinney because she broke a team rule, was also not available for Saturday's title game. Duncanville's motivated coaching staff and players definitely took advantage and rolled to a 63-47 victory at San Antonio's Alamodome.
"That one was for my mother," said Duncanville coach LaJeanna Howard. "I started this journey. I came down here last year and I started it for her when she passed away and I finished it this year in my first year where she sacrificed and made sure that I had a great education at Duncanville. To be able to finish it right here at home is amazing."
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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