AUSTIN -- Lucas Lovejoy’s state title dreams were dashed by a record-breaking performance as they fell to Abilene Wylie, 66-58, Saturday in the girls 3A state title game at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
Wylie’s Peyton Little set a UIL state tournament record for points, scoring 43 in route to Wylie’s third girls basketball state championship in school history.
“It’s a great feeling,” Little said. “Me and my team have worked extremely hard to get to this point. To come out and play good and hit shots -- it’s been my dream.”
The junior Texas commit was more than excited to find her shot in her future collegiate home.
Lovejoy had a 12-9 lead after the first period, but a 20-point second quarter from Wylie would give the Lady Bulldogs a lead they would keep until the trophy presentation.
Lovejoy’s aggressive style of defense got it into foul trouble early and forced a few key players to the bench in the second half.
Leopards post Courtney Smith finished with a team-high 13 points, followed by Mikaehla Connor with 12 and senior Millie Rivera with 11.
Lovejoy won’t be bringing gold medals back to Lucas, but head coach Kelly Connor said the Leopards can take pride in their season.
“They’ve just done so much this year -- being undefeated in district and getting to the state tournament. I know it hurts right now, but every time they walk back in that gym there will be a banner that says they are state finalists.”
Before the Leopards' trip to Austin this year, Lovejoy had never made it past the regional semifinal.
Even with tears still in her eyes, Rivera said the experience of the state tournament was satisfying.
“It’s definitely been a great experience,” Rivera said. “I know we wanted to win, but still, the memories will last with us forever, especially the seniors who’ve been here so long and been working for this for so long.”