Championship Cats: Plano Senior girls capture first state championship
Wildcats clutch down the stretch to earn crown
Devin Hasson firstname.lastname@example.org
SAN ANTONIO—Plano Senior’s determination would not be denied.
On the cusp of history, the Lady Wildcats trailed Converse Judson by as many as 10 in the second half, but their play, and their confidence, never wavered.
Plano made clutch play after clutch play down the stretch to claw its way back into it.The final two minutes turned into a battle of wills, and the Wildcats, fueled by their desire to capture the first state title in school history, did what championship teams do.
After a series of big plays by several different players, Plano had Lolo Davenport at the free throw line with 6.3 seconds left and a two-point lead. Davenport made the first and when the second slipped off the rim, Jordyn Merritt was there for the putback to seal a 62-58 victory and set off a raucous celebration to cap the Class 6A championship game at the Alamodome.
See full story at PLANO STAR COURIER.
2018 SportsDayHS girls basketball Player of the Year: Plano forward Jordyn Merritt
Jordyn Merritt-Plano, So., F, 6-2
The biggest basket of Jordyn Merritt's career -- and in the history of Plano girls basketball -- is still a blur.
"I don't even remember that happening. It all happened so quickly," the Plano sophomore forward said. "I didn't know that time was literally almost out. I just got the rebound."
With Plano leading by two with 6.3 seconds remaining in the Class 6A state championship game, Lolo Davenport missed the second of two free throws. But Merritt grabbed the offensive rebound and scored on a layup to clinch Plano's 62-58 victory over Converse Judson. It gave Plano its first state title in girls basketball.
"Being the first team from Plano Senior, it was amazing," Merritt said. "To bring the trophy back home for all of Plano, our school, everybody in the community, felt great."
How did Plano celebrate?
"As a team, we went back to the hotel and we jumped in the pool in our uniforms," Merritt said.
Merritt finished with a team-high 15 points in the state final after scoring 16 in a state semifinal victory against Cypress Creek. She missed five weeks because of a concussion and ankle injury but averaged 13 points and 7.4 rebounds in the regular season. She averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the playoffs and was an all-state selection by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
Rodney Belcher - Coach of the Year
Belcher led Plano to a 35-6 record and the Class 6A state championship. After working as an assistant at Plano for eight years, Belcher has been the head coach for the last four years, compiling a record of 111-35. Belcher has worked as a college assistant at New Mexico and Baylor and as a high school head coach for the Bryan Adams boys, the McKinney boys and the Rio Grande (N.M.) girls. Belcher played at Waco High School, McLennan Community College and North Texas.