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Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier.
Four Austin/San Antonio area boys basketball teams are headed to this week's UIL state final four. Check out the VYPE Central Texas and VYPE South Texas playoff coverage to learn about the teams and read our projected finishes for the squads.
UIL 6A's San Antonio Brandeis Broncos
2019-2020 Season Record: 33-3
UIL State Final Four Appearances: 2020
Players To Watch: Kyle Schaefer, Tanner Brown and Gavin Gibson
State Semifinal Opponent: Duncanville (29-5)
Other State Reps: Dickinson (32-5) and Wylie (32-7)
Prediction: San Antonio Brandeis' most successful boys basketball season to date produced the program's first regional championship, but its first trip to the UIL state final four will be a short stay because it has to play the state's top ranked team (Duncanville) in the UIL 6A state semifinal round.
UIL 5A's San Antonio Wagner Thunderbirds
2019-2020 Season Record: 35-5
UIL State Final Four Appearances: 2009, 2010, 2017, 2019 and 2020
Players To Watch: Journee Phillips, Jasean Jackson and Braelon Seals
State Semifinal Opponent: Mansfield Timberview (29-8)
Other State Reps: Lancaster (36-1) and Fort Bend Hightower (33-5)
Prediction: San Antonio Wagner boys basketball is making its fifth UIL state final four appearance since the 2008-2009 season and will get critical revenge against the team it lost to in the 2018-2019 UIL 5A state championship game (Mansfield Timberview) before falling in its third UIL state title game in the past four seasons.
UIL 3A's San Antonio Cole Cougars
2019-2020 Season Record: 32-6
UIL State Final Four Appearances: 1967, 1968, 1989, 2006, 2012, 2019 and 2020
Players To Watch: Vince Iwuchukwu and Jordyn Arnette
State Semifinal Opponent: Peaster (34-5)
Other State Reps: Coldspring-Oakhurst (36-4) and Dallas Madison (22-12)
Prediction: San Antonio Cole boys basketball advanced to the UIL state final four for the seventh time in history and for the second straight season. The Cougars will move a step closer to their first state championship since the 1988-1989 season by topping Peaster in the UIL 3A state semifinal, but will ultimately fall in the 2019-2020 state final.
UIL 2A's San Saba Armadillos
2019-2020 Season Record: 21-8
UIL State Final Four Appearances: 1928 and 2020
Players To Watch: Sean O'Keefe, Logan Glover and Risien Shahan
State Semifinal Opponent: Martin's Mill (39-0)
Other State Reps: Shelbyville (36-3) and Gruver (30-5)
Prediction: San Saba boys basketball is making its first UIL state final four appearance since the 1927-1928 season, but its season will conclude with a loss against 39-0 Martin's Mill in the UIL 2A state semifinal round.
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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."
VYPE Player of the Game Jazzy Owens-Barnett scored 9/14 points in 4Q of Frisco Liberty’s 35-26 UIL 5A state champio… https://t.co/mLv9SyOM2C — VYPE DFW (@VYPE DFW)
Along with Owens-Barnett, Frisco Liberty also got an important 10-point outing from Maya Jain.