Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Duncanville girls score last 11 points in OT, oust MacArthur
Pantherettes rely on team defense on MacArthur's Alexis Jones to reach state tourney
FORT WORTH — After Duncanville lost in the Class 5A regional semifinals last year, coach Cathy Self-Morgan made her team come back the following day and watch Irving MacArthur win the regional title. She wanted her players to see what it takes to make it to the state tournament.
On Saturday, Duncanville had a happier final day at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. The Pantherettes showed they have what it takes in a 62-55 overtime victory over 5A defending champion MacArthur.
Duncanville used team defense to slow down All-American Alexis Jones — at least a little — and showed the resilience to battle back after Jones scored the first four points in overtime. But most important, Duncanville had a deep set of talented players, even after starting forward Kiara Perry fouled out, to score the final 11 points of the game.
“Alexis is an All-American,” Self-Morgan said. “We had to do it as a team.”
Duncanville (38-1) did it as a team, with Ariel Atkins (15), Empress Davenport (12) and Perry (12) all scoring in double figures. MacArthur (35-3), which was trying to become the first 5A team to win back-to-back state titles since Mansfield won four straight from 1999 to 2002, was led by Jones, who had 31 points and 13 rebounds.
Jones’ teammates have always been great in a supporting role, but Duncanville’s strength was in numbers. That was especially true on defense, where Davenport was the primary defender on Jones but got lots of help. Every time Jones drove the lane, at least one Duncanville defender helped Davenport. When Jones spun in the lane, two or three Pantherettes blocked her path and sometimes stole the ball.
“It was really physical,” said Jones, a McDonald’s All-American who has signed with Duke. “There was a lot of holding and stuff going to the hoop. But that’s part of being a good basketball player. You have to fight through that.”
The game was a fight throughout. It included 16 lead changes, and no team led by more than four until Perry scored on a short jumper to make the score 45-40 with 4:30 left in regulation. MacArthur battled back, and Jones sent the game to overtime with a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left.
Jones also scored the first four points of overtime, and Perry fouled out. But Duncanville battled back with defense by forcing a pair of turnovers. Antoina Robinson, who came in to replace Perry, blocked a Jones shot and scored twice in the lane to give Duncanville a 56-55 lead with 1:10 left.
Duncanville forced another turnover, Morgan Bolton scored on a layup, and after Jones missed a 3-point attempt, Davenport and Tasia Foman combined for four free throws to ice the game.
“We wanted this so bad,” said Davenport, a Texas signee. “This is my fourth year on varsity, and I couldn’t leave Duncanville without a ring. I’ve got to have a ring.”