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
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
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
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.