2A Final: Gruver 50, Stamford 38
An unbeaten season was the last thing on Gruver head coach Trent Lankford’s mind. So when he cemented a perfect record following his team’s 50-38 win over Stamford in the Class 2A state championship, it made the moment even more unbelievable.
“Unless you’re from Gruver, you’re never going to understand,” Gruver senior and Texas Tech signee Bailey Maupin. “I can say that ever since I was in Little Dribblers in third grade, I’ve had the support of my community and I can feel it every time we go to play.
“We live in the best town in America.”
A grueling regular season schedule that included the likes of powers such as Idalou, Brownfield, Canyon and Nazareth prepared the Lady Hounds to avenge last season’s third round loss to Panhandle. Standing in their way of a second title in three years was arguably the hottest team in all of 2A. Stamford knocked off No. 6 Muenster, reigning champion No. 3 Lipan and No. 2 Martin’s Mill.
“I think if you look at the community support that was here, you look and see all the people that traveled to see these girls play, you see why they play so hard,” Lankford said. “With the schedule we played this year, undefeated was never even in the formula.”
Stamford’s press had caused chaos throughout the entire playoffs and was the great equalizer against higher ranked teams, but Gruver had the defense to match on its own end. Both teams forced double digit turnovers with Gruver having the edge with nine steals to Stamford’s six. In the end, the difference were the Lady Hounds’ two big bucket-getters in Maupin and Callie Conyers who finished with a combined 26 points. Maupin was named the game’s MVP and finished with 14 boards as well. Lankford credit’s the team’s experience having three starters from their 2020 state champion-winning side.
“They’re very in-tune with everybody and they know where everybody is and they love to share the ball, that experience you can’t replace it,” Lankford said.
“(Maupin) draws a lot of attention but her defensive ability, just her IQ to be in the right spots, to be able to guard people that have varying ability…it all goes back to her IQ and her athleticism,” Lankford said. “You couple that together and she does it all.”
Stamford’s Shandlee Mueller led the Bulldogs with 13 points.
5A Final: Cedar Park 45, Frisco Memorial 40 – 2OT
Cedar Park’s two-year unbeaten run ran into a marathon Saturday afternoon.
It was fitting that the Timberwolves’ historic run under head coach Donnie Ott needed a double overtime win over a stingy Frisco Memorial, 45-40, to successfully defend their 5A state title. A game that needed two extra periods to watch two defensive powers crack 40 points, it was Ott’s Timberwolves that notched a remarkable 62-0 over a two-year span.
“I think everybody witnessed one of the greatest basketball games in high school basketball in a long time,” Ott said. “If you couldn’t appreciate that game, I don’t know what to tell you. You watched two amazing programs go toe-to-toe and my hat’s off to Memorial and their coaching staff.”
In the fourth quarter and overtime, it came down to two players – Cedar Park’s Gisella Maul and Frisco Memorial’s Jasmyn Lott. The two scoring guards traded buckets and toward the end of the game, even guarded each other when it became apparent that those two were playing on a level above the rest.
“It was fun to watch, (Lott’s) special,” Ott said. “We tried everything. Hat’s off to the kid and she played her butt off.
“The overtime didn’t bother us. We just felt like it was an extra four minutes to show the world what this beautiful game was about.”
Cedar Park played senior Megan Woods on Lott until late when they matched her up with Maul. Lott finished with 21 points before fouling out late in the first overtime.
“For us it felt like practice,” Woods said. “Everyday, we’re going against G (Maul) I mean let’s be real. Every single day defense is our main focus in practice.”
Maul finished with a game-high 27 points and 19 rebounds and was the game’s MVP. The junior four-star connected on the game-clinching free throws in the second overtime to push the Timberwolves’ lead, to five. It was a similar moment she found herself in last season against Frisco Liberty.
“Felt like I prepared for that moment my entire life,” Maul said. “I’m constantly shooting free throws because free throws win games to me.”
Cedar Park’s post Shelby Hayes was the focus of most of Memorial’s attention. The Warriors fronted the senior Rice signee and even doubled her at times in the post while attacking her on offense. Hayes picked up two early fouls meaning star junior Gisella Maul had to take up more of the scoring load in the first half.
“We thought every single possession in this game mattered,” Maul said. “For us to come out on top like we did, the feeling is indescribable.”