Perfection: Gruver caps unbeaten season with second state championship in three years

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The Gruver Lady Hounds won their second UIL Class 2A state championship in three years by beating Stamford on Saturday at San Antonio’s Alamodome. [Trevor Fleeman/ Press Pass Sports]

SAN ANTONIO— The Gruver seniors said after Saturday’s game that winning this time was much sweeter than when the Lady Hounds won their first state title in 2020.

Senior forward Bailey Maupin added, “We completed the business trip that we came down here for.”

Maupin, who is signed to Texas Tech, was voted state championship MVP with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Gruver capped off its undefeated season with a 50-38 win over Stamford in the UIL Class 2A final at the Alamodome.

Maupin along with Camryn Armes, Brenna Butler, Kami Whitehead and Callie Conyers go home with their second championship in the past three seasons.

Gruver (33-0) also joins a small list of undefeated state champs in UIL girls basketball history. The Lady Hounds are the 24th team to accomplish the mark.

“With the schedule we played this year, undefeated was never in the formula,” Gruver coach Trent Lankford said. “They never backed down from anything in their way and they kept going forward.”

Lankford returned to Gruver this season after leading the Lady Hounds to the 2A final in 2015 where they lost to Muenster, but made the trip to state for the first time in 12 years. He had been an assistant at Amarillo in between stints.

“Gruver is just not a town like most,” Lankford said. “They just travel better and find ways to do things a little bit better. These kids love playing for Gruver and for each other, and it’s a tremendous honor to coach them and a tremendous honor to win a state title with them today.”

Conyers, who was pulled up from junior varsity in 2020, scored seven points in the first half. Maupin and Conyers hit back-to-back three-pointers and Gruver led 6-0. But Stamford (36-3) responded with the next seven points and the first of four lead changes in the first half.

Armes, who was championship MVP in 2020, hit a pair of free throws and Maupin’s short jumper pushed the Lady Hounds to a 10-9 lead with 2:07 left in the period. Kimber Whitehead drained a three and Maupin made a layup to help close out the quarter for Gruver at 15-11.

The Lady Hounds continued their run to 19-11 on two Butler free throws. Conyers and Butler added short baskets to give Gruver a 23-14 lead at intermission.

Stamford got as close as seven, 33-26, in the third quarter, but Maupin hit a step-back three from the right wing just before the buzzer and Gruver took a 10-point lead into the fourth.

“Give her a ton of credit. Just a different level of player,” Stamford coach Joe Crabb said of Maupin. “She’s kind of in a league of her own. She’s hard to deal with. She hits that three and we have guys that can’t hit that shot.”

Added Maupin, “Time is running out and we needed to get a shot off. I thought I had enough space to get it off so I pulled the trigger.”

It was one of two threes by Maupin on the day. Gruver was 8 of 20 from distance while Stamford was 6 of 18. Overall, the Lady Hounds shot 35% compared to Stamford 36%, but a big difference came on the boards.

Gruver, which beat Stamford in the 2020 regional semifinals, out-rebounded the Lady Dawgs, 39-20, with a 17-3 advantage on the offensive end. The Lady Hounds used that to score 11 second-chance points versus Stamford’s zero.

One of those moments came in the fourth quarter.

Gruver senior Bailey Maupin was named UIL Class 2A state tournament MVP. [Trevor Fleeman/ Press Pass Sports]

The Lady Dawgs had trimmed the margin to 42-34, but on the next Gruver possession, Maupin rebounded a miss and put it back up for a 10-point lead with 3:44 to play. From there, the Lady Hounds held Stamford without a field goal for the rest of the game.

“Being a senior and going out with a win, no one can say that we didn’t finish that or we could’ve done more. We did it,” said Maupin, who finished her Gruver career with over 2,700 career points.

Butler finished with 12 points, five rebounds and a game-high six assists. Conyers chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. Kimber Whitehead and Armes had seven and five points to round out Gruver’s scoring.

“Getting to move to Gruver and having this opportunity to play with them is a blessing, one of the biggest blessings to me,” Conyers said. “They’re like family to me and getting to wear the gold around my neck with the rest of them…there’s no feeling like it.”

For a full boxscore please visit, https://www.uiltexas.org/files/athletics/state-basketball/boxscores-girls/22gb2af.htm

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