No. 1 Martin’s Mill Survives OT Scare From Snook + Advances to 1A Division I State Championship
AUSTIN -- It wasn't exactly what Martin's Mill coach Doug Barncastle envisioned, but his team will be playing for a state title after being pushed to the brink.
The top-ranked Lady Mustangs, in control for much of Thursday morning, overcame deficits in both the fourth quarter and overtime to earn a 54-49 victory over Snook in their Class A Division I state semifinal at the University of Texas' Frank Erwin Special Events Center.
Martin's Mill (33-5), which is at the state tournament for the eighth consecutive year, can win its first state championship since 2008 when the Lady Mustangs face Smyer (33-6) at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Smyer advanced to the finals with a 40-36 win over Dallas Triple A Academy earlier Thursday.
The Lady Mustangs defeated Snook, 58-35, at Brownsboro's Great East Texas Shootout in December but had to withstand Shakera Barnes' running layup attempt at the buzzer to get to overtime.
“Obviously, it’s the state tournament," Barncastle said. "Everybody’s going to come give you their best game."
Martin's Mill senior guard Taylor Munns was the difference in overtime.
Munns gave Martin's Mill its first lead in OT, 50-47, with a huge 3-point play with 1:01 remaining. And after a couple of Barnes free throws at the other end, Munns hit two clutch foul shots to put the Lady Mustangs back up by three, 52-49, with 30 seconds to go.
Snook had one more chance to tie it, but Barnes' shot bounced off the rim and into the arms of Munns with 11 seconds remaining. Haily Jenkins then iced the game with a pair of foul shots in the final second.
Munns finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists.
“(Munns) did a great job for us," Barncastle said. "Taylor did a great job of hitting the boards, or drawing a foul; she had a big and-1 there at the end of the game that was critical. And she hit some real big free throws for us, clutch free throws.”
Senior Haily Jenkins, who has signed with McNeese State, led Martin's Mill with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds. Cheyenne Brown, a 6-1 sophomore post, added 14 points and 13 boards, while 6-0 senior Meagan Weatherford contributed six points, 13 boards and four blocks.
Martin's Mill shot just 29.4 percent from the field, including a 1-for-14 performance from the 3-point line, but controlled the glass by outrebounding Snook, 46-33.
“I think with Cheyenne and Weatherford and even some of our other guard play, we did a good job of crashing the boards and not giving them too many second-chance opportunities," Barncastle said. "I knew it was going to come down to execution.”
Senior Shakera Barnes led Snook with 21 points. Her coast-to-coast layup tied the game at 43-43 with 1:03 remaining in regulation, and she scored all six points for Snook in the extra session.
"Shakera's the type of kid who likes the ball in her hands," said Snook coach Micah Milliorn. "And Shakera did have some transition points, some big ones at the end."
Barnes almost won the game in regulation.
With the game knotted at 43-43, Jenkins missed both of her free-throw attempts with six seconds remaining. Barnes received the in-bounds pass, raced all the way to the basket and her leaning runner at the buzzer fell off the rim, which forced overtime.
“I can tell you right now, Snook for the rest of their lives is going to think ‘I could have hit that shot and won that game,’" Barncastle said. "Fortunately for us, it takes a little lady luck to win a game and get to the next game. And lady luck was on our side this time.”
Martin's Mill, which led 25-21 at halftime and 33-28 at the end of the third quarter, struggled all game long from the field. After going 9-of-29 in the first half, the Lady Mustangs were just 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) in the second half.
“I don’t know defensively what they were doing … we were just missing our shots," Barncastle said. "They were back in the paint and we were getting all the open looks we wanted.”
And the cold shooting finally caught up with Martin's Mill late in the fourth quarter. Snook took its first lead of the second half when junior Chastity Howard's 3-pointer put her team up 41-40 with 1:52 remaining in regulation.
"We knew they were keying in on Shakera, and I guess we kinda used Shakera as a decoy so to speak and that maybe it would open up one of our shooters," Milliorn said. "And Chastity stepped up and made the shot."
Munns gave the lead back to Martin's Mill with a pair of free throws, and Cheyenne Brown hit 1-of-2 foul shots to put the Lady Mustangs ahead 43-41 with 1:09 remaining.
But the speedy Barnes answered immediately by going the length of the court for the game-tying layup.
"I think we played very well and came out like we should," Barnes said. "Everybody didn't think we would make it this far this year and we proved them wrong."
Girls Class A Division I State Semifinal
At University of Texas' Frank Erwin Center, Austin
No. 1 Martin's Mill 54, Snook 49, OT
Snook 11 10 7 15 6 -- 49
Martin's Mill 12 13 8 10 11 -- 54
SNOOK--Shakera Barnes, 21; Miya Hoskins, 11; Haily Dever, 6; Chastity Howard, 5; Brittany Snell, 4; Emily Lewis, 2.
MARTIN'S MILL--Haily Jenkins, 15; Cheyenne Brown, 14; Taylor Munns, 14; Meagan Weatherford, 6; Cassidy McCoy, 5.
RECORDS--Snook 24-12; Martin's Mill 33-5.