Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Emotions still raw as Duncanville returns home from state championship loss, end of 105-game win streak
DUNCANVILLE — Duncanville can beat a team on an off night. It can also beat a team when calls aren’t going its way.
The top-ranked Pantherettes overcame plenty of both during their 105-game winning streak.
But a perfect storm brewed Saturday night in Austin, and Duncanville couldn’t overcome poor shooting and foul trouble against a talented, hungry Manvel squad making its first trip to the state tournament.
Duncanville shot only 30.6 percent from the field and had four of its five starters foul out of the game in the fourth quarter. With Duncanville’s star players sidelined, No. 2 Manvel finished the game on a 16-4 run to win the Class 5A championship, 58-53.
“We had nothing to counter their height with all of them on the bench,” Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan said. “This year, I’ve maybe had one player every once in awhile foul out. But not two.”
And certainly never four.
Duncanville returned to town Sunday for a well-attended welcome-home party at the school. The emotions of the game were still raw, and many of the players and coaches struggled to hold back tears when they entered the building to a round of applause.
“We’re sad, angry,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “I think we played well. We played together. We could have done better, though. Our defense slacked off a bit when they came back, and we missed a few easy shots.”
Few things went Duncanville’s way Saturday. Atkins was 9-of-19 from the floor with a game-high 24 points, but the rest of the starting lineup shot 20 percent (6-for-30).
The Pantherettes were whistled for 26 fouls compared to 13 for Manvel. Nearly half of Manvel’s points came from the free throw line, where it went 28-for-39.
Self-Morgan wouldn’t comment on the game’s officiating. She said her team made mistakes of its own.
“We started taking outside shots instead of working it in,” Self-Morgan said. “I don’t know why that changed. We relaxed on defense several times, and we don’t usually do that.”
Duncanville held Manvel without a field goal for more than a quarter and a half to open the game, but it didn’t build a large enough lead to withstand a run that was bound to come.
Duncanville led 17-6 with 3:23 to go in the second quarter when Jonee Jones scored a layup for Manvel’s first bucket. A big Manvel run followed, and Duncanville’s double-digit lead was reduced to four at halftime.
Once foul trouble set in for 6-4 center Ciera Johnson and 5-11 forward Tiara Davenport, Duncanville had no size in the post to battle for rebounds. When Atkins fouled out with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, Duncanville was clinging to a seven-point lead.
Championship MVP Brianna Turner scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half, feasting on a Duncanville lineup devoid of its size in the post.
It was a total reversal of the first meeting between the two teams in November, when Duncanville overcame a 16-point deficit to win, 56-50.
Manvel coach Bryan Harris said Duncanville had been on his team’s mind since that game, and he admits it was lucky to get some of the calls it did.
“We let them off the ropes the first time,” Harris said. “We were fortunate — you have to have some luck — and the coaching staff did a great job preparing.”