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Girls UIL Class 6A state basketball final Judson 49, DeSoto 46 Rockets make history

March 3, 2019

The Judson Rockets returned to the same spot where last season ended in heartbreak.

They hoped to change their fortunes and make city history by becoming the first to win a UIL state championship in girls basketball.

It happened after senior guard Corina Carter scored twice in the final two minutes to lift the Rockets to a 49-46 victory over DeSoto in the Class 6A championship Saturday night at the Alamodome.

Carter finished with 20 points and came alive in the clutch after scoring 16 in the first quarter and a half.

Judson was the first area team to qualify for the girls state tournament three straight times in the highest classification. But the Rockets wanted more after losing to Plano in last year’s 6A final.

Kierra Sanderlin added 15 points for the Rockets (38-5), who set a school record for most wins in a season.

DeSoto was led by freshman Sa’Myah Smith’s 17 points.

After the game opened 8-8, Judson went on a 13-2 run. Carter scored 11 during the spree, including a pair of 3-pointers. She also made three free throws after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt.

The Eagles closed the quarter on a 5-0 run to make it 21-15.

Carter nailed another 3 that put the Rockets in the lead 26-17 with 5:27 left in the half. The Eagles closed it to 28-23 after a 3-pointer by Bria Patterson, the Eagles’ only senior.

Sanderlin put the Rockets up 31-23 with a 3-pointer at the 2:03 mark of the second. Two putbacks by Sa’Miah Smith closed the gap to 31-27 at the half.

After Carter’s explosive play early, the Eagles began face-guarding her. The strategy worked as DeSoto slowed down the Rockets’ main offensive weapon and got back into the game.

DeSoto took a 38-35 lead thanks to an 8-0 run at the end of the third quarter. During that run, Carter was called for her fourth foul on a double foul with DeSoto’s Kendall Brown as they jostled on the floor for a loose ball with less than a minute remaining in third.

Carter sat until the beginning of the fourth.

The Rockets regained the lead after back-to-back 3-pointers by Sanderlin and Kyra White made it 43-38, but the Eagles went back in front 44-43 after a steal and layup by Bria Patterson with 2:18 left.

Carter gave Judson the lead for good with two straight baskets.

Area teams from lower classifications have made it to at least three straight state tournaments six times. Poth has done it three times — 2004 to 2008, 2010 to 2013 and 1995 to 1997 in 2A; Marion from 1989 to 1993 in 2A; Steele from 2008 to 2010 in 4A and Jourdanton from 1964 to 1966 in 1A.

Poth won 2A state titles in 1997 and 2007.

Jourdanton won in 1A in 1966 and Devine in 2A in 1962 before girls stared playing 5-on-5 basketball in Texas in 1979.

This year’s run nearly ended in the third round against Austin Westlake, but the Rockets won 43-41 on a buzzer-beating layup by Elena Blanding.

dhinojosa@express-news.net

Twitter: @hinojosa_david