Gruver stifles Panhandle for trip to state tourney


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The Gruver Lady Hounds celebrate after knocking off Panhandle in a Region I-2A final Saturday in Levelland. [Keirstyn Kelley: Press Pass Sports]

In a battle of two of the state’s top-ranked Class 2A teams, Gruver held off Panhandle in a defensive slugfest to take a 34-27 win in the Region I-2A finals at the Texan Dome in Levelland on Saturday afternoon.

On a day where points where a premium, the Lady Hounds (36-2 overall) were able to take advantage of turnovers and the Ettes shooting woes to punch their ticket to the UIL Class 2A state tournament in San Antonio for the first time since 2015.

We had a goal to get to state all season,” Gruver coach Shannon Fisher said. “The time and effort this team put in, I’ve never been more proud of a group in my life.”

Gruver held Panhandle to a total of seven field goals, as the Ettes were 7-of-39 (17.9 percent from the field). The Lady Hounds also did a great job defensively shutting down junior Mason Jones, limiting the standout to six points on 1-of-7 shooting.

“I thought Gruver did a great job guarding Jones,” Panhandle coach Rob Schmucker said. “I was hoping she’d shoot it more and I think she was surprised when she was open. Give Gruver credit.”

Gruver opened the lead to as many as nine, when Bailey Maupin made a layup to close out the third quarter, putting the Lady Hounds up 26-17.

In the fourth quarter, every time Panhandle tried to chip away at the deficit it was the Lady Hounds patience that was persistent in the post.

“Our post play was key in the fourth quarter,” Maupin said. “We didn’t go to the post in the first half, and we wanted to attack that in the second half.”

Maupin and Camryn Armes each had nine points for the Lady Hounds. Maupin also totaled 12 boards.

“We knew when we got the ball we had to capitalize,” Fisher said. “Panhandle does such a great job on defense we knew our opportunities were limited.”

Panhandle, which made its fifth straight regional finals appearance on Saturday, ends another stellar season at 31-6.

Gruver 10 18 26 34

Panhandle 6 13 17 27

G— Bailey Maupin 9, Camryn Armes 9. P— Kinley Graham 8, Bailey Walterscheid 7. Records: Gruver 36-2; Panhandle 31-6.

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