Class 3A state tournament: What to watch for in Austin

Delaney Sain and the Argyle Lady Eagles look to pick up the school's second girls basketball state title this weekend in 3A state tournament in Austin. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

Theoretically, the four teams playing in this weekend’s Class 3A state tournament have an equal chance of winning the state tournament.

But we know the odds aren’t in everybody’s favor.

Argyle faces Geronimo Navarro today at 1:30 p.m. in the 3A state semifinal, with the winner facing Waco La Vega or Abilene Wylie in the finals on Saturday.

Before you make the trip out to Austin or just hang out in front of your computer and keep up with this weekend’s action, let’s take a look at each of the four teams in this weekend’s 3A tournament, starting with the local team.

 

Argyle
Record: 35-1
Head coach: Skip Townsend
Key players: G Vivian Gray, C Delaney Sain
Last state tournament appearance: 2009
No. of titles: 1
Road to state: d. Sanger 42-22, d. Dallas Roosevelt 66-36, d. Decatur 54-30, d. Canton 52-26, d. Celina 51-50

The outlook: Well wouldn’t you know it — a team with one senior on the roster will be playing in the state tournament, and the main reason is the guy listed as the team’s head coach. Townsend has won 12 straight state tournament games after losing his first one by one-point when Copperas Cove lost to Alief Elsik in the 1998 5A state semifinals. Since then, he’s won six state titles and he has the tools to at least contend for a seventh state title.

 

Geronimo Navarro
Record: 33-7
Head coach: Darrell Harborth
Key players: G Shannon Thompson, G Sam Sahd
Last state tournament appearance: 1955
No. of titles: zero
Road to state: d. Somerset 68-37, d. Yoakum 46-44, d. El Campo 72-50, Corpus Christi West Oso 38-35, d. Boerne 55-44

The outlook: Navarro comes into the tournament as the biggest underdog. Navarro managed to slip under the radar and finished the season unranked in the 3A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. The Lady Panthers picked up a key win against No. 7 Yoakum in the area round, thanks to two late free throws. Navarro will have to overcome its lack of size, but it if the Lady Panthers can make it difficult for Argyle to get the ball inside, Navarro will certainly have a shot at playing on Saturday.

 

Waco La Vega
Record: 33-0
Head coach: Amy Gillum
Key players: C Erin DeGrate, G Calveion Landrum
Last state tournament appearance: 1995
No. of titles: zero
Road to state: d. Taylor 82-34, d. Groesbeck 92-36, d. Madisonville 68-49, d. Hamshire-Fannett 66-47, d. Fairfield 70-47

The outlook: La Vega comes into the contest as the favorites to win the 3A title. But based on the 3A rankings, La Vega had the easiest road to state (if you couldn’t tell by the scores – Fairfield finished the regular season ranked 11th by the TABC). Sophomore guard Calveion Landrum is ranked No. 15 in the Class of 2016 by ESPN’s HoopGurlz. La Vega easily defeated Southlake Carroll 57-35 in nondistrict play. Carroll finished the regular season ranked No. 7 in 3A by the TABC. So yeah, La Vega’s pretty good.

 

Abilene Wylie
Record: 30-5
Head coach: Kurt Richardson
Key players: G Brittany Brewer, F Punkin Mack
Last state tournament appearance: 2012
No. of titles: 4
Road to state: d. Clint 77-17, d. Lubbock Cooper 51-37, d. Levelland 39-35, d. Stephenville 54-36, d. Shallowater 75-64

The outlook: Wylie has the most historic pedigree of the four teams in the tournament. This is Wylie’s fourth state tournament appearance since 2010, and the Lady Bulldogs have two titles to show for it. This team has been there before. Wylie finished the season ranked third in the TABC poll behind La Vega and Argyle. If Wylie can advance, it could possibly face Argyle for the second time this season. Argyle defeated Wylie 38-30 in the finals of the Whataburger tournament.

 

 

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