AUSTIN,Texas- This was going to be a storybook finish no matter how the game ended. Duncanville High School girls' basketball was on a winning streak of 105 games which included back-to-back Texas state Division 5A championships; they were looking to extend that winning run, as well as to cement the state title three-peat. Manvel, the underdog who had lost earlier this season after being up by double digits, was on a streak of its own since a 30-point loss to Whitney Young in December. Even the cast was star-studded: Duncanville’s Ariel Atkins, a Texas signee and the No. 4-ranked player in the Class of 2014 Full Court Fresh 50, and Manvel’s Brianna Turner, who has committed to Notre Dame signee and the No. 1 Full Court Fresh 50 player in this year's senior class, are the two best players in Texas, perhaps the entire country; both have already been selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game at the end of this month. In the end, however, the Hollywood plot line for sports films prevailed, as the underdogs brought the incumbent champions' run to an end in a 58-53 upset.
This game itself was full of twists and turns. It started off looking like it would be a Pantherette blowout as Duncanville went up 10-2 after one period. The Panthers stretched the lead in the second quarter to 16-4 before Manvel started its comeback with a little over five minutes left in the half. Manvel didn’t score its first field goal of the game until Jonah Jones dropped in a layup with just 3:23 remaining in the opening half. However, defense proved critical as the Mavericks held Duncanville to only three points the rest of the half, rallying to head to intermission, still trailing but down by just three points, 19-16.
Duncanville managed to maintain a slim lead throughout the third and much of the fourth quarter. Atkins was simply amazing, pouring in 24 points, but she committed her fifth foul with just less than four minutes remaining. That would prove to be the turning point ,even though Duncanville was still up, 49-42, as its star senior headed to the sidelines. After Atkins fouled out, Duncanville only scored two field goals, the second coming with one second remaining, by which point, four of the five Duncanville starters were riding the pine, having fouled out of the game.
At the opposite end of the floor, Manvel’s Turner, who was named tournament MVP, continued the dominant form she had demonstrated throughout the playoffs, putting together yet another double-double with 17 points to go along with 17 rebounds. Her supporting cast of Jordan Hosey and Rangie Bessard posted 14 and 10 points, respectively, to help balance the Manvel offense.
For Turner, who helped lead Westbury Christian to a TAPPS state championship as a freshman, this championship ended her high school career the way it began -- at the top.
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