By David Hinojosa STAFF WRITER
The moment has never been too big for the Judson Rockets this season.
And it wasn’t on Friday night when they played national power Duncanville in a Class 6A state semifinal in the Alamodome.
Still, it wasn’t enough as Duncanville — ranked No. 15 nationally — blew open a tight game in the second half for a 53-41 victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls,” Judson coach Triva Corrales said. “They tried to knock off this giant and they gave it everything we had. We just fell a bit short and kind of ran out of gas.”
Duncanville (38-2) making its 25th state-tournament appearance, earned a chance to defend its title against Houston Cypress Ranch at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Rockets (28-7), in their state tournament debut, kept things close early in the second half.
“Coming into this game, we thought we could win,” Judson sophomore forward Kyra White said. “All the doubters gave us fuel to our fire. Staying with them throughout the game gave us a lot of confidence to keep pushing and trying to prove everybody wrong.”
Duncanville, which has won nine state titles, began to take control in the third quarter.
The Pantherettes outscored Judson 15-4 in the third to create some distance after Duncanville led just 25-24 at the half.
“We didn’t come out and execute,” Judson White said. “We didn’t do what our assignments were. We didn’t get back on defense.”
White kept Judson in it in the first half when she drained three treys.
The Pantherettes looked like they were begin to pull away when a 7-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Zarielle Green gave them a 22-15 lead at the 4:49 mark of the second quarter.
Judson battled back and tied it at 24. Chantel Govan and White each made threes and Mia Davis snuck underneath for a put back.
White led Judson with 13 points.
Duncanville was led by Zarielle Green’s 21 points. Lauryn Bowie had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite the loss, it was a strong showing for Judson, which defeated three state-ranked teams and four district champions to get to state.
“They worked so hard for me, and I’m so appreciative of that,” Corrales said.
White and two other starters return next season. She said the Rockets are set up well.
“We set the bar high for next year,” White said. “We just have work in the offseason. It was a great season. A great run. We didn’t want it to be over tonight, but it happens and we’ll be back next year.” firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @hinojosa_david