Written by SportsDayDFW.com
In clash for girls 4A title, Mansfield Summit and Rockwall are like mirror images
AUSTIN — In preparing for Saturday’s Class 4A girls basketball state final, Mansfield Summit and Rockwall hardly need scouting reports. A look in the mirror would suffice.
The Dallas area teams have established themselves as powers with each winning a state title in the past five years. Rockwall went undefeated to capture the 5A state title in 2007. Two years later, Summit won the 5A championship.
Both have dominant leaders, depth, and an emphasis on defense.
The Yellowjackets have averaged 52.8 points to the Jaguars’ 49.3 in six playoff victories. Rockwall has allowed only 36.8 points per game to Summit’s 38.3, including four overtimes against Canyon.
Both have thrived in close games. Before their 48-35 victory over Victoria East on Thursday, the Yellowjackets won three straight in the final minutes.
Summit defeated defending champion Canyon in four overtimes. On Thursday, the Jaguars protected a two-point lead in the final minute, escaping with a 40-37 victory over Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill.
Against Victoria Eaast, the Yellowjackets lost their leader, 6-1 senior Alyssa Lang, who fouled out with about four minutes remaining. With the Rice signee on the bench, Rockwall went on an 8-1 run. In the physical game, Rockwall kept driving to the basket for tough points.
“These girls have found ways to win,” Rockwall coach Jill McDill said. “Alyssa wasn’t on the court and other people had to step up. That’s the work of a great team, when you have several people that can step up and do different things for you.”
Lang has averaged 14.8 points in the postseason, but Paige Turner and Kayla Smith have also had team-high scoring performances.
Turner had 18 on Thursday, and she and Lang scored 10 against West Mesquite. Smith scored 15 against Lincoln and was one of three in double figures against Bryan Rudder.
“I’m so proud of my teammates,” Lang said. “They all fight hard. We’re a very close team. We want to win so bad somebody always steps up.”
The Jaguars have allowed only one opponent to score 40 points in the playoffs, and that was Canyon with 55 in four overtimes.
Like Rockwall, Summit has relied on different players. Ashley Eli scored 15 points in that game and then came back the next day and scored 25 against Clint Horizon. She led the Jaguars with 13 points against Barbers Hill.
Jazzmin Jackson had 10 points and 10 rebounds while battling Barbers Hill’s 6-4 center Kendall Shaw under the basket. And Shayna Jackson made two free throws in the final minute of the fourth overtime in the Canyon victory.
“J.J. is one of the best rebounders I’ve ever coached,” Summit coach Tammy Lusinger said. “She uses her maximum from head to toe and she is one who has learned to fight through adversity.”
Maya Hawkins scored 19 points in two games at the regional tournament after being sidelined four weeks because of injury. She had seven points, three assists and two steals against Barbers Hill.
“This team never gives up,” said Eli, who hit a clutch free throw with four seconds left to seal the Barbers Hill win. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence.”