It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.
The Westlake Academy defense allowed only nine points in the second half as the Blacksmiths captured their fourth-straight Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship state title with a 26-22 win over Arlington Burton Adventist Academy on Thursday at TC-Willow Park.
“I loved that it was a defensive game. Everyone likes offense, but I love defense as well,” said Westlake coach Nick Burrows, whose been at the helm for all four championships. “Every girl had a challenge they had to face.”
Westlake (22-10) had its struggles, shooting just 4 of 19 from the field in the first half. The Angels (15-16) led, 13-12, at intermission after the game was tied at 9 after one.
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The third quarter saw seven lead changes and Lauren Cortinas gave the Blacksmiths the lead for good with a three at the top of the key for a 21-20 advantage, which they took into the fourth. McKenna Barton, who Burrows praised for her defensive efforts, made a circus shot to give Westlake its largest lead at 23-20 with 6:30 to play.
“This was probably the most difficult to win,” said Cortinas, who finished with a game-high 12 points and MVP honors. “We’ve been in those tough situations down the stretch, but it feels good to win.”
Burton made two free throws down the stretch, but was unable to tie it or take the lead. The Angels were playing in the school’s first-ever state title game in any sport.
“We’re young, but I’m proud of the season they had,” Angels’ coach Rick Murray said. “First time we played them, we lost by 20. Second time, we lost by 6, so we’re headed in the right direction.”
Westlake’s Natalie Greenwood and Burton’s Emilia Ortiz and Ariel Brown-Williams joined Cortinas on the all-state team.
Brock 60, Colorado City 46
The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the 3A state rankings, held the Wolves to 3 points in the third quarter during their Region I area-round win at Cisco High School.
Brock (30-5) clinched its ninth trip to the regional quarterfinals in 10 years, where it takes on Holliday (22-4), which got by Merkel.
Colorado City (18-6) took a 12-9 lead after one, but Brock led 27-24 at half. The Eagles outscored the Wolves 20-3 in the third quarter.
Bradon Smith finished with 19 points and five assists. Scott Thomas chipped in 17 and seven boards.