On cruise control: No: 1 Nazareth eases past Veribest in 1A state semifinal

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Nazareth’s Mackenzy Corrales (14) goes up for a layin during the Swiftettes 43-23 rout of Veribest during a UIL Class 1A state semifinal Thursday morning at the Alamodome In San Antonio. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]

Nazareth was typical Nazareth on day one of the UIL state tournament.

The Swiftettes raced out to a 16-2 first quarter lead and never looked back, thumping Veribest 43-23 in a UIL Class 1A state semifinal Thursday morning at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The victory is a 23rd straight postseason win for storied Nazareth (30-8 overall), which will play for a fourth straight state title, as well as an unheralded 24th UIL state championship at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning against Lipan.

“We played great,” said Eric Schilling, who has led Nazareth to five state championships as head coach. “We got out to a fast start, and our team treated it like any other game. We’re going to enjoy this for just a little bit, then refocus, rest, and get ready for Lipan.”

Lipan (34-3) defeated Chireno in the other 1A semifinal 33-24 on Thursday. This state title game will be a rematch of a nondistrict matchup played December 12, when the Swiftettes beat the Lady Indians 50-42 in Hermleigh.

Believe it or not Veribest led 2-0 early in Thursday’s contest before the Swiftettes started the scoring barrage. Junior Merry Gerber got Nazareth off and running from that point, scoring six straight points, as the Swiftettes led from the 6:40 mark of the first quarter on. Gerber tallied eight points, however it was sophomore Addie Dyer with the hot shooting hand, going 5-of-9 from the floor for a game-high 13 points.

“We had seven, eight to nine players doing their job,” Schilling said. “When you use your depth like we did, that’s huge.”

Defensively, Nazareth limited Veribest to eight points at the half, and only eight field goals for the game, while forcing 14 turnovers.

The Swiftettes also played without star forward Cambrie Heiman for the first time in 140 games. Heiman, who has been a significant part of Nazereth’s past three state titles, was injured during last Saturday’s regional final.

The senior is expected to play Saturday.

Nazareth 43, Veribest 23

Veribest (27-11): Cora Blackwell 1 0-0 2, Bella Halfmann 2 2-4 8, Kennadi Wheeless 2 1-1 5, Zoe Bratcher 0 0-2 0, Callie Briley 3 1-2 8, Emily Ward 0 0-0 0, Tylie Murphy 0 0-0 0, Alliyah Harrison 0 0-0 0, Madison Dunn 0 0-0 0, Makaylie Brock 0 0-0 0, Cassandra Casas 0 0-0 0, Piper Compton 0 0-0 0, Meredith Robles 0 0-0 0. Totals: 8 4-9 23.

Nazareth (30-8): Merry Gerber 4 0-1 8, Amy Schilderink 3 0-0 7, April Schmucker 1 2-2 4, Addie Dyer 5 1-1 13, Emma Kleman 1 1-2 4, Bliss Betzen 0 0-0 0, Makenzy Corrales 2 0-0 5, Kyanne Dunn 0 0-0 0, Maggie Nelson 0 0-0 0, Iris Schilderink 0 0-0 0, Jaden Pigg 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 4-6 43.

Veribest 2 8 15 23

Nazareth 16 28 38 43

3-point goals: Veribest 3 (Halfmann 2, Briley 1), Nazareth 5 (A. Schilderink 1, Dyer 2, Kleman 1, Corrales 1). Total fouls: Veribest 12, Nazareth 14. Fouled out: Bratcher. Technical fouls: None.

UIL Class 1A state tournament

Thursday’s state semifinals

Lipan 33, Chireno 24

Nazareth 43, Veribest 23

Saturday’s state championship

Lipan (34-3) vs. Nazareth (30-8), 8:30 am.

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