Judson, Veterans Memorial advance to girls basketball state tournament

University Interscholastic League event starts Thursday at Alamodome.

UIL Girls Basketball State Tournament

Thursday-Saturday, Alamodome

(Schedule for San Antonio-area teams in semifinals)

Class 5A: Kerrville Tivy (33-6) vs. Mansfield Timberview (39-2), Thursday, 7 p.m.

Class 4A: Veterans Memorial (32-9) vs. Denver City (30-6), Friday, 3 p.m.

Class 6A: Judson (33-4) vs. Garland Sachse (30-7), Friday, 8:30 p.m.

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Veterans Memorial girls basketball coach Christina Camacho went to Judson after Christmas to deliver a late gift to her Judson ISD counterpart and best friend, Triva Corrales.

"I gave her a frame, a trophy case, for her state ball," Camacho said Saturday night, referring to a basketball commemorating Judson's appearance in the state tournament for the first time in school history last year. "The last time I was in her office, she didn't have one. So, I handed it to her and she's like, 'Coach, I already have one.' I said, 'You do?' Then I told her, 'Well, keep it because you're going to need it this year.'"

Camacho turned out to be prophetic.

Judson rolled to a 49-31 victory over Laredo Alexander on Saturday in the Region IV-6A final at Littleton Gym to earn another berth in the UIL state tournament, scheduled Thursday through Saturday at the Alamodome.

Later Saturday, Camacho's Veterans Memorial team punched its ticket to the state tournament with a 61-57 overtime win against Wharton in the Region IV-4A title game at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Kerrville Tivy also advanced to state Saturday, beating Corpus Christi Flour Bluff 58-40 in the Region IV-5A final at Northside Sports Gym. Tivy (33-6) faces Mansfield Timberview (39-2) in the semifinals Thursday at 7 p.m.

Veterans Memorial (32-9) plays Denver City (30-6) at 3 p.m. Friday, and Judson (33-4) meets Garland Sachse (30-7) at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Veterans Memorial coach Christina Camacho, second from left, with her players after the Patriots advanced to the state tournament with a 61-57 overtime win over Wharton in the Region IV-4A title game Saturday at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

As the regional tournaments drew closer, Corrales and Camacho talked about how "awesome it would be for us to be at state the same year," Camacho said. "I kept in touch with people that were watching the game (6A final)."

Corrales and Camacho first crossed paths when Corrales was a 13-year-old at Lowell Middle School, where Camacho was a coach. Corrales played for Camacho as an eighth-grader and for three seasons at Burbank before Camacho resigned in 1992 to become head coach at Holmes.

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"I left before her senior year and she's always reminded me of that," Camacho said.

Corrales later was an assistant coach under Camacho at Wagner for five seasons, going to the Judson ISD school when it opened in 2005 and staying until she became head coach at Judson.

Now in her eighth season with the Rockets, Corrales has them in the state semifinals for the second year in a row. Judson lost to perennial power Duncanville 53-41 in last year's semifinals.

Corrales, 42, long has considered Camacho her mentor.

"How awesome is that to be able to share this with her!" Corrales texted late Saturday night. "I would have never thought this would happen when I was 13."

Earlier, Corrales expressed pride that she and Camacho are taking Judson ISD teams to the state tournament in the same year. Veterans Memorial (32-9) opened in 2016 and is in its first season of varsity competition. The Patriots have no seniors on their 10-player roster.

Judson (33-4) finished the regular season No. 2 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches rankings. The Rockets broke open a 14-14 game Saturday with a 16-0 run in the second quarter that propelled them to a 28-14 lead at halftime.

"We just didn't let them up," junior guard Corina Carter said. "We didn't sleep on them. We all came together as one, as a unit, We stayed tight as a family. We won on the defensive end, not on the offensive end."

Carter hit four three-pointers and finished with 15 points to lead Judson's scoring, and junior Desiree Lewis had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Veterans Memorial had a tougher go of it in its regional final, trailing 51-46 late before pulling out the victory. The Patriots were hurt by foul trouble, losing Sahara Jones late in the fourth quarter and Charlene Mass and Marley Rokas early in OT. Mass and Jones are the Patriots' top scorers.

"They just pulled it through," Camacho said. "They did the right things at the right time, and we got key rebounds. We didn't do very well at the free-throw line, which really hurt us down the end. Going back to our district, everybody on our team always got to play every game. So, like tonight, when I had to bring girls off the bench, these girls were used to playing. That made a huge difference."

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Sophomore Ceyenne Mass, Charlene's younger sister, led Veterans Memorial with 17 points and hit a basket that tied the game at 54 in the final seconds, forcing overtime. Charlene Mass and Jones finished with 16 and 10 points, respectively.

Tivy (33-6) is in the state tournament for the third time and is making its first appearance since 2006. Charli Becker (16) and Katie Harmon (10) led the Antlers' scoring in their title win over Flour Bluff.