When Frisco Liberty led Saturday’s Class 5A Region II final by seven with 5:27 left, it looked like the Redhawks were going to knock out Mansfield Timberview for the second-straight season.
But the Wolves closed with a 15-2 run to shock Liberty 53-47 at the Curtis Culwell Center and advance to next week’s UIL state tournament in San Antonio.
“We had some big shots and we shared the ball,” Wolves coach Kit Martin said. “It was just a great comeback.”
The Wolves (36-2) return to the state tournament for the first time since 2010 when they won the 4A title.
Liberty senior guard Rebecca Lescay, set to play at Tulsa in the fall, got back-to-back steals and layups, the latter coming with a foul. After hitting the free throw, the Redhawks led 45-38.
“When we called timeout, our thing was we had so much time left and so much more that we could do,” Martin said. “If we could stop allowing second shots, that would win the game for us.”
Timberview finally made a basket midway through the fourth via junior post Lauryn Thompson to get within five. Then senior guard Trelynn Tyler’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 45-43 with 3:19 to play.
The Redhawks (31-7) hit a pair of free throws for a four-point lead with 2:50 left, but Liberty wouldn’t score again.
“We just kept playing,” said senior Chennedy Carter, a Texas A&M signee. “We were looking at different options, looking for different players and two of my teammates were able to step up and make big time 3s.”
Carter then made a 3-pointer from the left wing, and, after Liberty was called for traveling, Thompson found Taylah Thomas down low to give the Wolves the 48-47 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
On their next possession, Carter found sophomore Kennedy Wilson for the 3-point dagger.
“When the ball left her hand, I had a feeling it was going to go down,” Martin said.
“I had tears, and I saw my point guard fall to the floor,” said Thompson once the buzzer sounded. “We’re really going – we really did it.”
The 5A semifinals are 7 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Alamodome. Three-time defending champ Canyon, Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill and Corpus Christi Flour Bluff are the other semifinalists.
“Lot of emotion ran through my body,” Carter said. “We played as a team and we played together. I was just happy.”
“We want something bigger,” said Thompson, who was holding the regional final trophy. “We’re waiting for next week to get the real deal.”
Carter and Thompson scored 14 points apiece. Tyler had 10 and Thomas added eight points and nine rebounds.
Liberty, which knocked out Timberview in last season’s regional semifinal, was led by Lescay’s 18 points. Katelyn Burtch added 11.