Pantherettes Defeat Cibolo Steele 59-36 for the 5A State Championship

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The 2013 Pantherettes finished an undefeated season to take the 2013 UIL 5A State Championship by defeating Cibolo Steele by a score of 59-36 to claim back-to-back state championships.

Last year’s team Pantherette team defeated Spring Dekaney by a 38-point margin, the largest in UIL state finals history. So, this year’s 23-point victory was almost as impressive.

The 2013 Texas UIL 5A State Champions, The Duncanville Pantherettes, 40-0. Photo by Ron Byrd – portraitsbydeenaandco.com

5A State Champs, The Duncanville Pantherettes. Photo by Ron Byrd – portraitsbydeenaandco.com

However, after Cibolo Steele downed the #2 state-ranked team, Pflugerville, in the semi-finals there was some concern.

The Pantherette coaching staff was at the Cibolo Steel-Pflugerville game and could be seen scouting both teams while sitting in the lower bowl. When asked if they went back to the hotel and reworked the game plan after the Lady Mustangs upset Pflugerville, head coach Cathy Self-Morgan said the week between regional’s and the state finals gave them plenty of time to prepare.

“With the week off for practice, the four days, we practiced for all three teams here at the playoffs,” said Self-Morgan.

The Pantherettes were ready for the game to get underway, and go for their back-to-back championships.

“I wasn’t nervous, I was focused, we were all focused,” said Kiara Perry. Arial Atkins admitted to a little pre-game nerves. “A little bit. I get nervous before every game,” said Atkins

The first period ended with the Pantherettes holding a 5-point lead, 11-6, with all eleven points coming from Perry (6 points), and Atkins (5 points).

The second quarter started with the Pantherettes going on an 11-0 run, before Sarai Rodriguez ended the drought for Steele by sinking a free throw. Rodriguez missed the second shot to leave the score 22-8 with 4:52 remaining in the first half.

At the close of the first half, Duncanville had stretched the lead to 18 points, 32-14. But, by that time both Robinson and Atkins had three fouls each.

The third quarter saw the Pantherettes continue the push, by outscoring the Lady Mustangs 16-10.

Early in the third quarter, Atkins picked up her fourth foul and Self-Morgan faced a tough decision. Should she bench Atkins or continue to let her play.

“I was wondering if I should do that or not, she’s such a smart player. She’ll also step up and take the charge, but that can go either way. I left her for a little bit, but then I did the wise thing,” said Self-Morgan. “She’s one of the smartest I’ve ever coached, she knows the game.”

Shannon Franklin fights for the rebound. Photo by Ron Byrd – portraitsbydeenaandco.com

Shannon Franklin – Photo by Ron Byrd

With Atkins seeing some limited playing time, Coach Self-Morgan depended on other players to step up, and Perry answered the call. “She (Perry) gives us that passion, that desire to win, that willing to carry anybody on her shoulders that needed to be carried. She got it done so Ariel could get back in the game,” said Self-Morgan.

The fourth quarter was simply a matter of closing out the game. At the end of the third, the Pantherettes held a 48-24 lead, and started slowing the game down some.

The game closed out with Duncanville downing Cibolo 59-36.

Perry’s play earned her the tournament MVP as voted on by the members of the media present at the tournament.

Perry was still in shock over winning the award but, in typical Pantherette fashion, Perry deferred the accomplishment to her team. “It’s something I’ve worked for, but my teammates helped me get this. I feel really good, but I think my teammates deserve one too.”

Atkins, Foman, and the rest of the returning players are not planning to let up anytime soon, and neither is Self-Morgan. In addition, back-to-back state championships, a 42-0 season, along with a 70 game winning streak are not the Pantherettes biggest goal.

“Well you know, Sandra Meadows had three State Championships in a row and 134 straight victories, and that’s the legacy that I inherited, so 70 is nothing,” says Self-Morgan. “They’ll be ready. We’ll meet on Monday and do all of our thank you letters and they’ll be ready to start work on Tuesday, but I will probably wait until Wednesday.”

Atkins is already planning for next year, “Yes, I want another one. It’s a done deal. It’s what I will be working for after this week,” said Atkins.

When Atkins was asked about the expectations with she and Foman coming back she said, “Same mentality, but we’ll have to have it bigger. We’ll have younger people and we’ll be older and they’ll be looking up to us and our coach will be looking for way more for us than she does right now and we’ll just have to bring it.”

In addition, Atkins is confident in their ability to continue working hard too, “We’ve been taught to push, no matter if your down or up by thirty, that’s what she’s (Self-Morgan) taught us.”

Antoina Robinson shoots for two. Photo by Ron Byrd – portraitsbydeenaandco.com

Antoina Robinson – Photo by Ron Byrd

The coach is glad she has the talent coming back as well. “I’m so glad I’ve got these juniors coming back, and I’ve got some good Freshman coming up, and kids back at home we’re going to work with. They’ll continue to stay hungry, that’s for sure. They’ve set a new bar for work ethic, and expectations and everyone will have to step up,” said Self-Morgan. “We got to win the next one. It’s always about winning the next one.”

Self-Morgan was asked about the all-important zero of the undefeated season. She simply smiled, let out a little laugh and said, “It’s staying a zero.”

When Self-Morgan was asked to rank her team with all of previous teams she said, “They’re up there. They are such a pleasant group of kids, and they love each other and they have fun with each other, and they are funny. You can sit as an adult and have a dialogue with most of them. Just a great group of kids.”

She also talked about the support for the team. “The City is proud of them, the school is proud of them and there is a lot to be proud of and they take that to heart, and they want to represent the city and the school and do it with class and strong character,” said Self-Morgan.

If positive attitude, determination, hard-work, and practice are the keys to making it to the state playoffs, Duncanville fans should go ahead and make their reservations for Austin as the Pantherettes go for a three-peat.

Duncanville Pantherettes

Name Fouls Rebounds Steals Blocks Points
Kiara Perry 4 13 1 1 20
Chrineisha Davis
Ariel Atkins 4 7 13
Morgan Chambers 1 2 2
Tasia Foman 4 1 1 7
Tamara Washington 3 4 1 5
Destiny Means 1
Madison Townley
Antoina Robinson 4 7 1 3 10
Shannon Franklin 1 2 1 2
Total 21 36 4 6 59

Cibolo Steele Lady Knights

Name Fouls Rebounds Steals Blocks Points
Sarai Rodriguez 1 2
Jade Brady 1 5 5
Chelsey Leck 2 2
McKenzie Calvert 3 11 2 19
Kyra Lambert 4 3 1 3
Janay Garner 1
Erika Chapman 4 3 1 1 3
Madison Anderson
Chloe Briseno
Ryan Hicks
Brittany Johnson
Payton Lazenby
Jourdan Grills
Leilani Dangerfield
Bijan Webb-Hawthorne
Brianna Millet 3 4 2
Total 16 29 4 36
1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr Final
Duncanville Pantherettes 11 21 16 11 59
Cibolo Steele Lady Knights 6 8 10 12 36