The road to state
A look back at Coppell girls basketball playoff run
March 31, 2023
The Coppell girls basketball team made history by qualifying for the Class 6A semifinals in San Antonio. Here’s a look back at the games that brought them there.
Working overtime: Cowgirls clip Eagles in bi-district playoff thriller
CARROLLTON – The arena is alive — alive with the pulsating energy radiating from both teams, the synchronous bated breaths and exhales after each play, the screaming of the scoreboard demanding to be heard as each quarter comes to an end— until only one team can distinguish itself from the entity of the game and survive onto the next round of playoffs.
On Monday, the Coppell girls basketball team defeated Allen, 41-38, in overtime in the Class 6A Region I bi-district playoffs at Carrollton Creekview. The Cowgirls (34-3) will face Highland Park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Euless Trinity in the area playoffs.
With just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, both teams are tied 31-31 when the Eagles call a timeout. In a back-and-forth game of both teams battling for the lead, the Cowgirls are ahead once again after Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller scores a 3-pointer.
As the clock ticks down to 1:09, Allen senior Alexis Cortez scores a 3-pointer, both teams now tied. Neither team was able to score again during the fourth quarter, leaving the regulation score at 34-34, the game advancing into overtime.
The clock runs down to one minute remaining in overtime as Allen gains possession of the ball, Coppell leading, 39-34. Allen freshman Simone Richmond circles the 3-point line, prowling for points, then ascends from the left corner with a jump shot. She falls to the ground as the shot goes in, both sides of the gym roaring.
Richmond’s teammates lift her to her feet, guiding her to the free throw line. Richmond analyzes the shot, attempting to hush out the deafening distraction of the stands. The ball ripples the back of the net, cutting Coppell’s lead to two.
According to Coppell coach Ryan Murphy, Allen posed a threat with its mid-range scorers, meaning the Cowgirls had to keep track of their personnel and recover individually after each play. Senior Jules LaMendola led all scorers with 25 points, as well as all of the team’s points scored in overtime.
Ten, nine, the clock stops there. LaMendola’s teammates pick her up after a foul and LaMendola strides across the court to the foul line for the fourth time in overtime alone, her gaze fixed on the net. Coppell fans clench their fists, almost unable to watch as LaMendola takes the shot.
The Cowgirls now lead 40-38. Everything and everyone in the arena has come to a halt except for the ball bouncing from LaMendola’s hands as she prepares herself for her next free throw. The net ripples and the scoreboard flips to 41-38 Coppell.
The clock resumes and Allen has possession with only eight seconds left. The Cowgirls battle to defend their lead, deterring Allen throughout the final seconds. The final buzzer rings through the arena and the ball is launched to the ceiling as the Cowgirls crash in on each other, celebrating their close triumph over the Eagles.
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Cowgirls corral Scots in second round of playoffs
Coppell advances to regional quarterfinals, receiving shot at redemption against Warriors
EULESS – Vigor. Stamina. Camaraderie. The values of the Coppell girls basketball team illuminate the dimly lit arena. The Cowgirls continue carrying their culture with them, generating excitement and hope as they move further away from home and closer to achieving its dream of a state championship.
On Thursday, the Cowgirls faced Highland Park in the Class 6A Region I area playoffs at Euless Trinity. The Cowgirls maintained a comfortable lead over the Scots for the majority of the game, ultimately defeating them, 54-41.
Coppell (35-3) plays South Grand Prairie at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Irving MacArthur in the Class 6A Region I quarterfinals.
The sound of squeaking shoes vibrates across the waxy surface of the floor, drowned out by the clamorous crowd and the shrilling scoreboard, resounding through the packed gym. Familiar faces to the Cowgirls line the multitude of the stands. Parents, teachers, past coaches and friends make the journey to Euless to support Coppell and its continuation of the season, pride swelling in both the onlookers and the players.
“DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE,” the crowd chants, desperately hoping for the Cowgirls to maintain their lead as the clock counts down the seconds in the final quarter. Ultimately, the Cowgirls’ fans have nothing to worry about as the fourth quarter is mainly offensive for Coppell.
Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller leaps into the air, cradling the ball into the basket and drawing a foul from Highland Park senior forward Paris Lauro. Spiller’s focus remains unphased, despite all of the distractions surrounding her, as she makes both of her free throw shots, extending Coppell’s lead to 48-36 with less than three minutes remaining.
One of Coppell’s leading scorers of the game with 12 points, Coppell senior guard Waverly Hassman, fouls out with 2:38 remaining.
Coppell went 13 of 16 from the free throw line.
“It is really important to make [our free throws] which I feel is going to be harder and harder the farther we [advance] because there is more pressure,” Hassman said. “But I feel like if [we] just focus on the free shot we are getting at the free throw line, we will be fine.”
Coppell senior guard Macey Mercer demonstrates the Cowgirls’ concentration and determination throughout the rest of the game as she finds herself at the free throw line with 1:29 left on the clock. Mercer inhales, closing her eyes and focusing on the net in front of her. The ball passes through the next and bounces back to Mercer as she prepares to take her next shot. Mercer practices her team again, and extends her arms into the air, setting the ball on its trajectory to the basket. The shot goes in.
As the time ticks away with 45 seconds left on the scoreboard, the ball darts around the court as Coppell holds onto possession in the final moments of the game. Flashes begin to go off in the stands as one by one fans on Cowgirls’ side of the crowd rise to celebrate Coppell’s impending victory.
According to Coppell coach Ryan Murphy, Highland Park excels at hitting 3-pointers but didn’t have any in the first half, which he thinks threw them off.
Murphy continued, explaining that Lauro is one of the most skilled players on Highland Park’s team and averages more than 20 points per game, but the Cowgirls’ defense was able to hold her 18, and forced her to work for it.
Murphy identified two of the Scot’s other top scorers, senior guard Vivian Jin and junior guard Audrey Walker. Murphy said that Jin typically scores 14 points per game but didn’t score any against Coppell and Walker usually scores double figures, but only scored five.
Coppell senior guard Jules LaMendola is left with the ball in the final seconds of the game, dribbling in the center of the court, facing the basket. The intensity in her eyes fades as a smile beams across her face. The buzzer chimes and the ball falls from LaMendola’s hands, as the first thing she does is shake hands with one of the Scots.
For the first time this season, the Cowgirls tangibly reach out and touch their success as a gold trophy is presented to the team. LaMendola receives it, pride shining in her eyes as she looks down at her reflection in the trophy.
LaMendola raises the trophy above her head as a crowd encircles her, first jumping up and down, unable to contain her excitement, then slows down to a halt, her head hanging down as all of the moments from the game and the season catch up to her.
The Cowgirls now shift their attention to redemption against South Grand Prairie following last year’s playoff defeat.
“I think this will be a battle and it will just come down to [who is] the better team that day,” Hassman said. “Last year really set a fire under us so we’re ready to take them out and go all the way.”
Until then, the Cowgirls plan on studying the Warriors’ personnel and tightening up their offensive execution.
“We’re excited to get a rematch, to get another chance at them,” Murphy said. “You don’t always get a chance to avenge a loss, so I think we will be really locked in for that game.”
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Cowgirls make history wrangling Warriors in regional quarterfinals
IRVING – Basketball is a sport of constantly moving forward – forward on the court, eyes fixed on the rim, moving past the accumulating adversity and onto the next game – but that’s not all the Coppell girls basketball culture strives for.
Tuesday night, the Coppell girls basketball team faced South Grand Prairie in the Class 6A Region I quarterfinals, defeating the Warriors, 43-39, after receiving a shot at redemption. Last year, the Cowgirls fell to the Warriors in the same round of playoffs, ending their season with a difficult loss, but was able to move forward and overcome the team this year.
However, Tuesday night was historic for the team for another reason: Per the Coppell girls basketball team, the Cowgirls advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1990, when current CHS Principal Laura Springer was the girls basketball coach.
After their victory against South Grand Prairie, the Cowgirls advance to the Region I semifinals against Southlake Carroll on Friday at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in Fort Worth.
As the announcer’s voice booms over the speakers, the Coppell girls basketball team steps out onto the glossy court, nearly every seat in the stands filled.
SGP junior guard Taliyah Parker scores a 3-pointer, the Coppell stands gasping while the SGP stands cheer in excitement. The score is now 41-39 Coppell, everyone in the gym standing up now, waiting in anticipation for the game to end, to have the comfort of knowing who will advance.
“Ever since last year we’ve had ‘rematch’ written in our locker room” — Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller
“Ever since last year we’ve had ‘rematch’ written in our locker room”
— Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller
Coppell senior guard Jules LaMendola is knocked down to the floor with 6.4 seconds remaining in the game. She picks herself back up, trudging over to the free throw line. LaMendola scores both shots, securing the Cowgirls’ victory over SGP.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, LaMendola finds herself battling against the Warriors, grasping at the rim for the rebound. LaMendola fights alone under the basket, up against all five of SGP’s players. LaMendola snatches the ball from the air, then returns it quickly to the basket, scoring a bucket for Coppell and extending the team’s lead to 34-32.
South Grand Prairie has possession when sophomore guard Taylor Barnes scores a bucket, tying the game, 34-34, drawing a timeout from the Cowgirls.
The Cowgirls return to the court, hope swelling in their fans, engulfed by the sheer intensity of the game. Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller sits in the right corner of the court when the ball finds her hands. Spiller instinctively launches into the air, the ball flying off her fingertips, the crowd watching with bated breath.
The stands leap up from their seats, their voices thundering together into a single rhythm, boosting the Cowgirls’ momentum as Spiller can’t help but smile.
The Cowgirls’ lead extends to 37-34, then the Cowgirls gain possession again with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Spiller finds herself on the right side of the court again, entrapped by Warriors. Spiller lobs the ball over her head to LaMendola, who draws the guards to the left side, leaving Spiller open. LaMendola then launches the ball back to Spiller, who drives to the basket and scores a layup.
Coppell is still ahead, now 39-34, when SGP calls a timeout in hopes of turning the game around and defeating the Cowgirls in playoffs for the second year in a row.
“Defense! Defense! Defense!,” the Coppell stands chant in unison as they watch the time expire in the game, hoping the Cowgirls will be able to maintain their lead.
The clock buzzes as the time in the game expires and the Cowgirls crash in on each other, celebrating their long-awaited defeat over the Warriors. The crowd rushes onto the court to greet them, the student section now surrounding the team, parents and teachers watching as they wipe the tears from their eyes.
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State bound: Cowgirls saddle up for first state tournament in program history
Coppell emerges victorious over Lobos in final moments of regional final
FORT WORTH – It’s official: the Coppell girls basketball team is state bound. After all of the sacrifice, the hard work put in the early mornings and the late nights, the Cowgirls are on their way to San Antonio.
Their work is not finished yet, however.
On Saturday, the Coppell girls basketball team defeated Little Elm, 51-47, in the Class 6A Region final at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
The Cowgirls (38-3) play Northside Clark (32-3) at the Alamodome in San Antonio at 7 p.m. in the Class 6A semifinals. The winner advances to play the Pearland-DeSoto winner at 8:30 p.m. Saturday for the state championship.
The Cowgirls take the court as the starting players sit anxiously on the bench, their heads hanging down, their elbows pressed on their knees, as they wait to hear their name called. Cheerleaders, coaches and other players form a line, a straightforward path to success. Coppell senior guard Jules LaMendola hears her name over the speakers, jogs through the line, her eyes focused on Coppell sophomore guard Londyn Harper waiting at the end.
LaMendola stands before Harper, then leans down as Harper places a crown upon her head, one that has remained there since the beginning of their season, witnessing the Cowgirls vanquish the seasons of four teams.
“They deserve this more than anybody else. I love that they’re going to represent us at state.” — CHS Principal Laura Springer
“They deserve this more than anybody else. I love that they’re going to represent us at state.”
— CHS Principal Laura Springer
The score is 46-43 Coppell as the clock counts down from 3:30 in the fourth quarter. The Cowgirls have possession of the ball, when Little Elm junior point guard Madison Martin suddenly breaks through Coppell’s play, intercepting the ball and scoring a layup.
The arena reaches a deafening level as the score flips to 46-45 Coppell, with just over two and a half minutes left in the game.
All of the familiar faces in the Cowgirls’ stands feel a wave of nausea wash over them as they realize what Coppell could lose in these last few minutes. The Cowgirls had fought the whole game to win back their lead and up until now had been able to maintain a comfortable one.
But now, they face the consequences of what a loss now would mean: resolving the title of regional champions, the end of their historic season, the end of an era.
LaMendola refuses to let this possibility become a reality. LaMendola scores a bucket when the game resumes, extending Coppell’s lead to 48-45, 1:33 remaining in the game. The Coppell crowd roars in response, hope fluttering in their hearts.
The game continues at a standoff, neither team able to score. Coppell senior guard Waverly Hassman has the ball back on offense, and is cornered by Lobos at half-court after picking up her dribble.
A foul is called on Little Elm sophomore shooting guard Raniyah Hunt, one of the players cornering Hassman. Hassman walks over to the free throw line, inhaling and exhaling the pressure of the game.
The ball bounces off the rim, simultaneous noise arising from both sides of the court. Hassman centers herself and is able to make her second shot, Coppell adding one point to their score, now 49-45.
Little Elm has possession now, Kimpson finding herself with the ball again. Kimpson analyzes the Cowgirls’ defense, desperately searching for an opening to score. Kimpson finds it and drives through the right lane to score, shrinking Coppell’s lead to 49-47.
The clock ticks away. Twenty-five seconds remain in the game. The Cowgirls run the clock; all they have to do is keep possession and they go to state.
The ball magnetizes to LaMendola’s hands but the Lobos’ defense overpowers her, trapping her in the corner at half-court, just like Hassman.
The referee indicates the source of the foul, pointing to Little Elm sophomore point guard Shiloh Kimpson. The Coppell stands rise to their feet, stomping and screaming, placing all of their faith into LaMendola for the free throws.
LaMendola focuses on her routine, but something blocks her this time. She misses both shots; Little Elm is given possession with 7.7 seconds left to tie or win, and calls a timeout to strategize.
The Lobos run their play, Coppell junior guard Ella Spiller and LaMendola running a double team in back court to prevent Amarachi Kimpson from scoring.
“Our message to the team was ‘three doesn’t beat us,’” Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy said.
The Cowgirls proved to be successful in their goal, both deterring Amarachi Kimpson and forcing a turnover with 0.6 seconds remaining in the game.
The Cowgirls throw the ball in from their defensive end, holding onto the ball and their lead as tightly as possible. LaMendola darts around on the left side of the court, then falls to the ground just before the buzzer sounds. The crowd goes silent.
“What does this mean?” synchronously floats through everyone’s minds as they sit on the edge of their seats. The referees deliberate near the table, then come back out to the court, 0.3 seconds added back to the clock and a foul charged to Little Elm, LaMendola receiving two free throws as a result.
She steps up to the line, receives the ball, then dribbles it twice in an attempt to clear her mind through the pandemonium.
The scoreboard flicks to 50-47 Coppell as LaMendola lines up again for her next shot. An overwhelming surge of “boos” come from Little Elm’s stands, but LaMendola connects with the basket, unaffected by the distraction.
And just like that, the electrifying game comes to an end. The buzzer chimes and LaMendola throws her hands up in the air as the cheerleaders rush to the center of the court to meet the team. Coppell senior guard Macey Mercer breaks away from the excitement of the huddle, looking for someone.
Mercer and LaMendola walk towards each other, LaMendola greeting Mercer with open arms, embracing and swinging Mercer around in celebration.
According to LaMendola, her favorite moment of the night wasn’t her final free throws or the trophy the Cowgirls received later on, but Mercer’s defense, a comment that embodies the Cowgirl culture as well as the family the program has created.
“Nobody really grew up wanting to be a Cowgirl basketball player, it just wasn’t on people’s minds,” Murphy said. “And [the girls] have completely changed the culture of the program, the standard of what it means to be a Cowgirl basketball player. Now we have all these little girls in the stands that want to be out here someday.”
The trophies are presented next, Little Elm receiving theirs first. Shiloh Kimpson accepts the trophy for her team, holding back tears in her eyes.
LaMendola accepts Coppell’s next. She raises the trophy above her head, everyone on the team and everyone in the stands looking up at their gleaming accomplishment. Pride swells in everyone’s eyes and hearts as the Cowgirls and their supporters fight back tears as well.
A few minutes later, Mercer climbs up a ladder, ascending to the rim the Cowgirls ended the game on. One by one, each member of the team rises to cut a strand of the next, a memento that will remind them of this day for years to come.
LaMendola goes last, hearing the applause of the crowd for one of the last times in her high school career. The ladder shakes beneath her as she carefully steps down, and she meets her teammates back on the court.
The coaches cut the net next, a deafening wave of roars resound through the gym for Murphy, who finishes the ceremony and drapes the severed net over the Cowgirls’ trophy.
LaMendola breaks away from the team and rushes to the stands, jumping into her mother’s arms. Just like they have all season, the team follows LaMendola’s lead, leaping into the stands to their loved ones.
After the stands begin to clear out, the Cowgirls and the coaches recede to their locker room, one by one. LaMendola enters last, cheers echoing off the stone walls as she steps into the room, suddenly muted as the door swings shut.
“We’re just halfway up the mountain, we still have two games left,” LaMendola says. “We have to keep grinding, it’s not over yet, we still have a lot to work towards,”
According to Murphy, the Cowgirls got too stagnant in the past two rounds of playoffs, but will continue to build up their defense and study the personnel of Northside Clark.
“Nothing really special changes,” Hassman said. “[We will] just keep doing what we do because what we do got us to this point and it will take us home.”
Cowgirls slay Dragons in regional semifinals
FORT WORTH – Red and green clashes in the vast space of the arena. The stands are filled with each color, with fans on both sides trailing their team, anxious for the result of the game. The same hues shine through the gleaming lights of the scoreboard, which will then reflect a hallmark victory for the Coppell girls basketball team as they advance to the regional finals.
On Friday, the Coppell girls basketball team defeated Southlake Carroll, 51-41, in the regional semifinals at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
With 1:28 left in the game, the Cowgirls lead, 43-39, when Coppell senior guard Macey Mercer is knocked to the ground from a foul and takes her place at the free throw line.
Both sides of the arena are chanting and standing, their voices reverberating through their lungs as they raise their volume as loud as they can, so their support can echo through the arena and into the ears of their team.
The Dragons’ student section rises to its feet, increasing their volume more and more, as they attempt to distract Mercer from the shots.
Meanwhile, the Coppell side of the arena chants “Let’s go Cowgirls,” establishing a rhythm that will carry the Cowgirls to victory. Mercer adjusts her position, looks up to the basket, and scores both shots, seemingly unaffected by the chaos of the stands.
Carroll gains possession afterwards, shooting a futile shot on their offensive end, as Mercer grabs the rebound and locates Coppell senior guard Jules LaMendola. LaMendola drives across the court to the basket, drawing a foul and subsequently marches over to the free throw line to face her shots.
LaMendola comes in clutch, scoring both with 1:09 left in the game, extending Coppell’s lead to 47-39.
Everything in the arena comes to halt as LaMendola wrestles with Carroll guard Gianna Jordan for the ball.
Everyone holds their breath as the referee makes the call. Foul on Jordan. LaMendola strides to the free throw line, the clock paused at 7.4 seconds remaining in the game. LaMendola inhales, shoots, scores, and then repeats for the next shot.
Coppell is now ahead, 51-39, Carroll with possession. Carroll sophomore guard Milania Jordan slips in a bucket at the last second, the last points of Carroll’s 2022-23 basketball season.
LaMendola rushes onto the court to greet her teammates, fists flying high in the air. The buzzer rings through the air, indicating the end of the game. Immediately, DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” plays over the speakers, resounding the Cowgirls’ victory for all to hear.
Early in the second quarter, Coppell substituted LaMendola out of the game, disruption following quickly after.
According to Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy, one of the officials signaled to the Cowgirls to continue with the substitute, while the other official ignored them and called a technical.
“I feel like we were in a position to blow the game open and run away with it and I feel like the officials stole that momentum,” Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy said. “But part of that is our fault for letting something outside of our control affect us.”
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“The game just went two seconds too long”
Clark’s Huff hits 3-pointer to defeat Cowgirls in state semifinals
SAN ANTONIO – Nearly 300 miles from its home court, the 2022-23 Coppell girls basketball team unknowingly plays their last game together after six months of success, dedication and perseverance.
On Friday night, the Cowgirls’ momentous season came to a close. Coppell fell to Northside Clark, 49-48, in the Class 6A semifinals at Alamodome in San Antonio.
Clark junior guard Natalie Huff’s clutch 3-pointer with two seconds remaining sent the Cougars to tonight’s state championship game against two-time defending champion DeSoto. Coppell ends its best season in school history 38-4.
Huff’s shot concluded a thrilling, albeit heartbreaking finish for Coppell, game.
“The game just went two seconds too long,” Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy said.
The bright lights of the $186 million arena beam down on the Cowgirls, as Coppell senior guard Jules LaMendola battles to call out plays over the deafening audience.
It’s the third quarter and both teams are tied for the ninth time of the night, 32-32, 1:53 ticking down on the clock. Coppell senior guard Waverly Hassman dishes out an assist to LaMendola, who drives to the basket, leading the Cowgirls to take control of the game once again.
Coppell returns to the court for the fourth quarter, fans watching with bated breath.
Hassman hands another assist to sophomore guard Landry Sherrer, who receives the ball and jumps into the air. The shot goes in, and the Coppell fans boom throughout the dome, demanding to be heard by the opposing team and stands.
Less than a minute later, Clark junior Center Arianna Roberson catches a fast break in the paint, scoring a layup and shrinking Coppell’s lead to 36-34.
After a series of missed shots and fouls, Roberson scores again, tying the score at 36, with 3:37 counting down on the clock.
The Cowgirls refuse to accept another tied score, as LaMendola lobs the ball out to Coppell senior Allyssa Potter who sinks a 3-pointer, Coppell extending their lead to 39-36.
With 1:45 remaining in the game, Roberson draws a foul from Spiller. Roberson steps up to the free throw line, tuning out the thunderous noise from the Cowgirls faithful. Roberson makes both shots, diminishing Coppell’s lead to 41-38.
Spiller immediately gains back those points, scoring a layup off another assist from LaMendola, Coppell ahead, 43-38, 1:26 gleaming on the scoreboards surrounding the court.
It’s the last minute of the game, and everything is moving at the speed of light, the ball darting across the court, players cutting in and out of the lanes. But one thing is certain: Coppell is ahead.
Coppell senior guard Macey Mercer stands at the free throw line, time frozen around her. Mercer looks up to the basket and watches both of her shots go in, Coppell once again holding its five-point lead over Clark.
Huff passes the ball to her teammate, senior guard Ramsey Robledo. Robledo leaps, the ball slipping off her fingers and cutting through the air as it passes through the net.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Mercer draws a foul from Robedo and secures both points from her free throws. Coppell fans rock the dome in celebration, their collected voices beginning to drown out those from the Cougars’ supporters.
Nineteen seconds. The clock pauses as Roberson dishes the ball to junior forward/center Kamryn Griffin who weaves between the Cowgirls’ defense and scores, pulling Clark within two points of Coppell.
Fifteen seconds. Griffin draws a foul from LaMendola and scores, Coppell now only leading by one.
Thirteen seconds. Coppell has possession and the whistle blows. A foul is called on Huff as Mercer lines up for her two shots. Mercer connects with the basket and makes the first shot, but misses the second, the Cowgirls now leading by two points.
Play resumes and it’s Clark’s possession after Roberson snatches the rebound from Mercer’s missed shot. The Cowgirls sprint back on defense, attempting to block any and all shots.
Huff dribbles down the court with the ball, stopping at the 3-point line, Mercer standing between her and the basket. Mercer raises her hands, attempting to block Huff’s line of sight, but Huff swerves and shoots. Hassman closes in on her as the ball leaves Huff’s fingertips, but it’s too late. The shot goes in with 1.4 seconds remaining.
The time quickly expires, and the scoreboard buzzes as Coppell girls basketball coach Ryan Murphy raises his arms in protest.
Clark is already celebrating: the players jumping up and down together, their crowd awestruck and roaring, while the Coppell crowd is speechless, everyone in disbelief of the play.
The officials blow the whistle and deliberate, everyone waiting in anticipation for the verdict.
The play is reviewed and it is determined that Murphy called a 30-second timeout as soon as the ball passed through the net. Coppell is given back one second.
The Cowgirls run the play from the opposite end of their basket, as they desperately lob the ball to Spiller for a desperation shot. Spiller winds up from half-court and leaps forward, but misses.
The buzzer echoes throughout the arena and Clark continues celebrating as LaMendola falls to her knees on the court after giving her all to the game.
“[Huff’s] shot is not the reason why we lost that game,” LaMendola said. “At the end of the day, I’m just proud to be here. I’m proud of my team [and] I think we should keep our heads high.”
The Cowgirls slowly collect themselves as they prepare for the award ceremony, the last time they will step on the court together this year.
“I’m proud of my team,” LaMendola said. “Four years ago, none of this was even in our minds. Without any one of those 13 girls on our roster, we wouldn’t be here.”
Tears well in each player’s eyes as one by one, the Cowgirls receive their medals and stand before the crowd. Their stands rise to their feet, tears unable to be held back from them as well.
“The girls have completely changed the culture of Coppell girls basketball,” Murphy said. “Four years ago, going to state was not something that anyone ever would have thought about.”
The bittersweet night comes to a close, the final curtain falling on the Cowgirls and their season, that is, until they take the court again next year.
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