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Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier.
It's official! After a back-and-forth battle with Mansfield Timberview, San Antonio Veterans Memorial gets its second shot at a UIL state girls basketball title in only its third varsity season. Texas A&M signee and VYPE Player of the Game Sahara Jones attacked the basket throughout the Patriots' 45-44 UIL 5A state semifinal win at San Antonio's Alamodome. Her game-high 18 points paved the way to the Pats earning a win against a fellow top 10 team in the state.
San Antonio Veterans Memorial has leaned on Class of 2020 players Jones, Brenna Perez and Vivian Castro for three seasons and it's resulted in three straight 30-win seasons, a UIL 4A state runner-up finish during the 2017-2018 season and an appearance in the 2019-2020 UIL 5A state championship game. Perez and Castro also contributed important outings on Thursday, as evident by their eight and six-point totals.
"They played as sophomores here," San Antonio Veterans Memorial coach Christina Camacho said of the Class of 2020's performance on Thursday. "They knew what it took."
Another chapter can be written if the Patriots beat a hot Frisco Liberty squad that came back against College Station to win its Thursday state semifinal match 44-41 in overtime.
"We have no choice but to finish," said Sahara Jones. "We don't like losing. We didn't like the feeling [of 2018], so now we're going to come out, do what we're supposed to do and get the win."
VYPE Player of the Game Sahara Jones’ game-high 18 points led San Antonio Veterans Memorial to 45-44 win against Ma… https://t.co/2FQ2okWHc8 — VYPE San Antonio (@VYPE San Antonio)
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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.
VYPE Player of the Game Lily Ziemkiewicz scored 10 of game-high 16 points in 4th quarter & OT of Frisco Liberty’s 4… https://t.co/HB5D0FbR1k — VYPE DFW (@VYPE DFW)
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.
For more sports coverage, follow Thomas (@Texan8thGen) on Twitter.