Martin’s Mill Saves Season With 19-1 Closing Run Against Weimar In State Semis
SAN ANTONIO -- Martin's Mill reversed what had been an awful second half from the floor in the final five minutes and stole a 58-50 win from defending Class 2A state champion Weimar in the state semifinal round Friday at the Alamodome.
Briley Moon connected on two 3-point shots within 18 seconds of each other to tie the game at the 1:49 mark of the fourth quarter, which snapped an initial 0-for-9 personal performance behind the line. The Lady Mustangs then scored eight unanswered points at the free throw line around a series of empty Weimar possessions to reach their second championship game in three seasons.
"Not only did it catch us up on the scoreboard, I told the girls it was a big momentum swing," Martin's Mill coach Tommy Cross said of Moon's two late treys. "We hit those shots and you could see the energy within the kids. I felt like Weimar was maybe a little bit deflated after that."
There was a warning sign for the Lady Mustangs (37-2) even before stepping perilously close to a season-ending loss. They got outrebounded on their defensive end of the court by a two to one ratio in the first half, and Weimar ultimately won the all-encompassing battle on the boards by a 50-33 margin.
Everything was easier for Weimar (32-9) on the offensive end despite a 31-27 halftime deficit, so a 1-for-24 shooting performance in the second half for Martin's Mill up until the 5:07 mark of the fourth quarter seemingly put the writing on the wall.
Weimar owned its largest lead, 49-39, with just more than five minutes to play. Then it all came crashing down despite continuing to assert itself in the Martin's Mill paint.
Hailey Celsur got a 3-pointer to go and cut the deficit to seven. That shot elevated the Lady Mustangs' second-half shooting to eight percent.
Freshman forward Abbie Orrick, who scored 14 points in the first half, came back alive shortly afterward. She cut the deficit to six after Weimar managed three offensive rebounds but just one successful free throw the other way.
Weimar's next two possessions against a full-court press resulted in a turnover at Martin's Mill's baseline and a rare Lady Mustangs defensive board. The big rebound by Orrick set up Moon to break out of her slump.
Moon stole Weimar's next possession and hit the tying trey.
Orrick forced a second consecutive turnover and forced Weimar to commit its seventh team foul of the half to prevent a fast break. She hit both ends of her one-and-one situation for a 52-50 lead.
Weimar's final attempt to tie the game was extended by two offensive rebounds, the final of 25 in the game for the squad, but Celsur pulled down the third shot attempt off the backboard and fed Moon up the court before the opposition could land a foul with 41 seconds to play.
From there, Martin's Mill made six of six attempts from the line to cap a 23-for-29 free throw performance and closed the game on a 19-1 run with 16 unanswered points.
"Coach kept telling me to shoot the ball because I'm a shooter," Moon said. "So that's what happened."
Cross immediately interjected.
"One of the worst things we could have done was have her stop shooting," he said.
Orrick's 21 points and 15 total rebounds led the Lady Mustangs in victory. Celsur scored 14 points and Moon's final free throw with four seconds to play put her at 10.
Emma Holland led Weimar with 17 points and rounded out all players in double digits.
Martin's Mill will face Panhandle from the Amarillo area for the 2A state crown Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Alamodome. Panhandle finished a 62-37 win against Wonden about two hours after Martin's Mill left the Alamodome court.
The state championship game is a rematch of last season's semifinal game, which Panhandle won by 10 points. That Lady Mustangs loss cost it a chance to win a second straight title in its first year without star forward Cheyenne Brown.
"We do know that team a little bit," Cross said. "I think they're obviously very skilled and very well-coached. They have a little bit of everything as far as size, shooters and ball handlers. I think it'll be an interesting game."
No. 1 Martin's Mill 58, No. 10 Weimar 50
Class 2A State Semifinal Playoff Game
At The Alamodome, San Antonio
Weimar 10 17 18 5 -- 50
Martin's Mill 14 17 8 19 -- 58
Weimar (32-9) -- Emma Holland 17, Summer Almeida 9, Kamie Klesel 8, Jade Gaza 7, Jazz Garza 7, Faith Thomas 2.
Martin's Mill -- Abbie Orrick 21, Hailey Celsur 14, Briley Moon 10, Mollie Daniel 8, Calli Camacho 5.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Weimar: Holland, Klesel. Martin's Mill: Celsur (2), Moon (2), Orrick.