Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Duncanville girls claim their place among best ever by dominating 5A final
AUSTIN — Over the years, many of the Class 5A girls state championship games have been intense battles that went down to the wire. But for Duncanville, which throttled Cibolo Steele, 59-36, on Saturday, the final game was mostly a ceremonial lap.
Just like last year, Duncanville’s speed, size and overall excellence overwhelmed its opponent in the title game. The Pantherettes’ early fireworks — a 23-4 run that spanned the first and second quarters — doused the big finale of the girls basketball weekend at the Frank Erwin Center.
“We like to get a good lead on them,” said forward Kiara Perry, who was named the game’s MVP, “because we don’t want them coming back.”
Nobody was coming back against Duncanville on Saturday night. If any of the 5,839 fans wanted some suspense, they needed to leave early and catch a movie. Duncanville’s championship script, with a storyline built on suffocating defense, allowed no room for an underdog.
Duncanville (42-0), which held Steele to 18 percent field goal shooting, became the first team to repeat as 5A champion since Mansfield won four straight from 1999 to 2002. Duncanville claimed its eighth state title in girls basketball, and the Pantherettes’ 70th straight win also made them the school’s fourth team to finish undefeated.
Perry, a 5-11 senior who has signed with SMU, scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in her high school farewell. Junior guard Ariel Atkins added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Pantherettes, who never trailed and never led by less than 15 after the four-minute mark of the second quarter.
“Coach told us to push hard from the start,” Atkins said, “and just keep going.”
Duncanville just kept going, and rolling. In last year’s final, Duncanville raced to a 41-9 halftime lead in a 69-31 victory over Spring DeKaney. On Saturday, the Pantherettes led 32-14 at the half.
The margin was narrower than a year ago, but the gap between Duncanville and Steele (33-6) was a gaping trench from the start. It seemed that way in most games this season for Duncanville, which did things few other girls teams can do.
Three minutes into the game, Tamara Washington threw an alley-oop to Perry, who soared high, grabbed the ball and banked it in. She didn’t slam it in, but it was pretty.
And it was pretty obvious that Steele, which ended Pflugerville’s undefeated season in the semifinals, wouldn’t end another one Saturday. Pflugerville was one of the state’s best teams this season, but Duncanville is one of the state’s best teams ever.
“They’re up there,” coach Cathy Self-Morgan said when asked to rank this year’s Pantherettes with her other five state champions, three at Austin Westlake and two at Duncanville.
“They’re a great group of kids,” she said. “The city is proud of them, the school is proud of them, and there’s a lot to be proud of.”
Duncanville became the first team in 11 years to repeat as a 5A state champion in girls basketball. The teams that have done it:
Titles; Years; School
4; 1999-2002; Mansfield
3; 1988-1990; Duncanville
2; 1993-1994; Amarillo
2; 1995-1996; Austin Westlake
*2; 2012-2013; Duncanville
*Coached by current Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan
The UIL girls basketball teams that have finished as undefeated champions:
Rec.; Team; Class; Year
42-0; Duncanville; 5A; 2012
40-0; Rockwall; 5A; 2007
40-0; Duncanville; 5A; 1997
40-0; South Oak Cliff; 5A; 1980
39-0; Duncanville; 5A; 1989
39-0; Longview; 5A; 1984
39-0; Sudan; 1A; 1995
38-0; Canyon; 4A; 2011
38-0; Mansfield; 5A; 1999
38-0; Levelland; 4A; 1991
37-0; Duncanville; 5A; 1990
37-0; Canyon; 3A; 1978
36-0; Celeste; 1A; 1992
35-0; Nazareth; 1A; 1984
33-0; Nazareth; 1A; 1985
32-0; Waco Richfield; 4A; 1985
32-0; Canyon; 4A; 1996
30-0; Lincoln; 4A; 1999