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."
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)1583624887.0
Along with Owens-Barnett, Frisco Liberty also got an important 10-point outing from Maya Jain.