Written by Matt Wixon
Stunner! Duncanville girls fall in 5A final, 58-53; win streak ends at 105
AUSTIN — Since Duncanville began its winning streak during the 2011-12 season, the Class 5A state championship game has been more like a victory lap than a final hurdle. But on Saturday night, that changed in a dramatic way at the Frank Erwin Center.
After a run of 105 straight victories that included back-to-back 5A titles, a foul-plagued Duncanville team was knocked off its perch by Manvel, 58-53.
“We played with a lot of heart,” coach Cathy Self-Morgan said. “It just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”
Duncanville (35-1) played with heart, but by the end, it was playing without its top players. Tiara Davenport fouled out with six minutes left, Ariel Atkins fouled out with 3:52 left and Ciera Johnson and Tasia Foman fouled out in the final minute, when it was still a one-possession game.
“The foul-outs really hurt us,” Self-Morgan said, without adding comment on the officiating.
The biggest loss was Atkins, a Texas signee who is considered one of the nation’s top players. The guard led Duncanville with 24 points, and when she fouled out the Pantherettes’ led, 49-42.
But Duncanville was wobbly without its star, and with 1:50 left, Manvel (38-2) took its first lead, 52-51. It came on a steal that led to a layup by Brianna Turner, a Notre Dame signee who is also one of the nation’s top players. Turner, a 6-3 guard/forward, finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds and was named the game’s MVP.
“We came into this game with nothing to lose,” coach Bryan Harris said. “Every game we’ve been favored to win, and that’s hard on 16, 17, 18-year-olds. We weren’t expected to win this game.”
But Manvel, which was right behind top-ranked Duncanville in the state rankings all season, was expected to provide a bigger test than Duncanville faced the last two years when the championship games were decided by halftime — or before. The Pantherettes led by 18 at the break last year, and in 2012, their cushion was 21 after one quarter.
On Saturday, there was little cushion — or comfort — as Duncanville tried to extend the streak that began on Dec. 6, 2011. The Pantherettes held Manvel without a field goal until midway through the second quarter, but their early 12-point lead was whittled to 19-15 at the half.
Manvel made its first-half rally as Johnson, Duncanville’s 6-4 center, sat on the bench. The sophomore picked up her third foul a minute into the second quarter, and Manvel closed the half with a 13-5 run.
That was just the start of the foul problems for Duncanville, which was called for 26 fouls to 13 for Manvel. Duncanville made 10 of 15 free throws. Manvel went to the line 39 times and made 28.
After Manvel made a free throw to take a 54-51 lead with 33 seconds left, Duncanville had one last chance to tie. But with their four top players fouled out, the Pantherettes were unable to get off a shot before turning over the ball.
Moments later, the streak ended as players who were key to its longevity sat on the bench.
The longest national girls basketball winning streaks. Source: National Federation of State High School Associations
Butler Taylor County (Ga.)
Valdosta Lowndes (Ga.)
W. Point Guardian Angels Central (Neb.)
Shelbyville Central (Tenn.)
Millersburg West Holmes (Ohio)
Orem Mountain View (Utah)
Hinton Summers County (W.V.)