Update for March 26, 2015

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Mallory McCollum finds herself surrounded and tied up by Nazareth defenders during the second half of D’Hanis state semifinal contest Thursday in the Alamodome. The Cowgirls lost to the Swiftettes, 61-18.



Sarah Craft's shot attempt, along with many of the Cowgirls' passes and shots last Thursday, was denied by the Nazareth defense.


Shelby Gayre looks for an open passing lane.


Nazareth too much for state semifinalist Cowgirls

By Jeff Berger
Anvil Herald Sports Editor

San Antonio -- The D’Hanis Cowgirls won the opening tip.

After that, they ran into the proverbial buzzsaw Thursday morning, March 5, in the UIL Conference 1A State Basketball Tournament at the Alamodome, when they met the Nazareth Swiftettes.

The Cowgirls hadn’t seen anything like this all season. Maybe in several seasons. Or maybe ever.

Nazareth scored on its first possession and never looked back on the way to a 61-18 state semifinal win. The Swiftettes went on to defeat Lipan, 56-40, in Saturday’s 1A championship game. Nazareth’s win locked up the program’s 20th state championship in their 24th appearance.

Lipan was a 55-28 semifinal winner over Garden City on Thursday.

The Swiftettes’ defense controlled the proceedings on Thursday, running man-to-man coverage, cutting off passing lanes, denying shots and grabbing rebounds. Nazareth scored the game’s first 10 points, led 17-1 after one quarter, and 25-3 at the half.

D’Hanis was led by the seven points each from senior Mallory McCollum and sophomore Shelby Gayre, who also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and was named to the 1A all-tournament team. The Cowgirls ended the season at 27-7, with championships of District 31-A and Region IV, and as state semifinalists.

“Nazareth is just a good, solid program,” said D’Hanis coach Fred McCollum. “They can put five players on the floor who all know where their teammates are at all times. They can all shoot, they contest every shot that goes up, they cut off passing lanes.... We just haven’t seen an opponent that good, and they are state champions.

“I think our girls came out with a case of nerves,” he added. “Playing in the Alamodome on such a big stage was new for us, and Nazareth starts the season expecting to be there.

“But having said all that,” he said, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team. They worked hard and dedicated themselves to get here. When the year started, I thought we had a chance to make it to the regional tournament. But once we got there, it became clear that we could go even further. The girls dug deep, got the job done, and now they’ve created a lifetime memory for themselves.”

After a seven-year absence from the state tourney, the Swiftettes were state champions in 2014 as well, when the tourney was in its final year at the University of Texas’ Frank Erwin Center.

Nazareth, halfway between Lubbock and Amarillo, and a few miles west of I-27, works on basketball pretty much year-round. The Region I champion, with an enrollment of 73, doesn’t offer volleyball or softball, although they have a strong cross country program, qualifying a team for state this past fall.

With 108 students, D’Hanis was the largest of the four schools in the 1A girls state tournament field.

The appearance at state for the Cowgirls was the second in the program’s history. In 1979, the first year of girls’ 5-on-5 basketball in Texas, the Cowgirls fell to eventual state champ Nazareth in the Class B semifinals.



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