Martin’s Mill Meets Nemesis Smyer For Class A Division I State Championship
AUSTIN -- The Martin's Mill Lady Mustangs have become fixtures at the girls state basketball tournament, having made the trip to Austin the last eight years.
Martin's Mill (33-5) won state titles in 2006 and 2008, but has lost in the championship game in each of the last three seasons. And Saturday's opponent, Smyer (33-6), has delivered two of the defeats.
For the third time in four years, the Class A Division I state championship comes down to these two small-school powers. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the University of Texas' Frank Erwin Special Events Center.
“Obviously Smyer knows our team and we know their team very well," said Martin's Mill coach Doug Barncastle, whose team lost championship games to Smyer in 2010 (49-41) and 2011 (52-49).
Martin's Mill reached the finals by surviving an overtime scare from Snook, 54-49, on Thursday, while Smyer punched its ticket with a 40-36 win over Dallas Triple A Academy.
The Lady Mustangs shot just 29.3 percent from the field, and were 1-of-14 from the 3-point line against Snook. Martin's Mill trailed late in the fourth quarter and early in overtime before pulling it out.
Martin's Mill struggled last week in the regional semifinals against Zavalla before blowing away Slocum in the regional championship last weekend in Tyler. The Lady Mustangs are hoping the pattern continues Saturday.
“(We plan on) coming out the same way we did against Slocum, jumping on them and fixing the little things we didn’t do right (Thursday)," said Martin's Mill senior Haily Jenkins, who had 15 points and eight rebounds against Snook. "As for myself, stepping up my game, it’s a big game.”
Smyer typically dominates in the frontcourt, evidenced by its semifinal win Thursday. Kennedy Farr, a 6-2 senior post, provided 21 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow post Jordan Locke, a 5-10 senior, contributed 17 points and four boards.
"They still have (Kennedy Farr) and another post player to go along with it," Barncastle said. "They have a nice high-low game."
One person missing from the 2012-13 roster is the graduated Haley Fowler, who combined for 62 points in Smyer's two state championship wins over Martin's Mill.
"I think one of the big differences is I think they’re young in their guard play," Barncastle said. "I think they rely more on their high-low, inside game. I think the matchups are better this year than in the last two years we played them. I’d like to think our guard play is more seasoned, and hopefully in a big game we’ll be able to execute under pressure.”
Win or lose, Saturday's game will be the last in the careers of four Martin's Mill seniors -- Jenkins, a McNesse State signee, guards Bri Miller and Taylor Munns and post Meagan Weatherford.
“I feel honored to be here for my senior year, playing in the state championship game," said Munns, who had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists Thursday. "It’s my last game, so I’m going to go out there and I’m going to play my hardest. This is it, now or never.”