Simply the best: Nazareth claims unheralded 24th state championship
The Nazareth Swiftettes celebrate after downing Lipan 44-31 in the UIL Class 1A state championship game Saturday morning at the Alamodome in San Antonio. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]
A national public school record 24th state championship.
The storied Nazareth Swiftettes added to their tremendous decades of dominance Saturday morning when they ran away from Lipan, 44-31, in the UIL Class 1A state title game at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“I’m super blessed to be a part of it,” said Eric Schilling, who has won six state championships as the head coach of the Swiftettes. “I’m just a small part of it. There are so many that have come before us that laid the foundation. You have to credit this team now, they understand the expectation, they know what it takes to win.”
Making its 29th appearance on UIL’s grandest stage, Nazareth, which finished the year 31-8 overall, continues to be the measuring stick of Class 1A girls basketball. Not only have they won a record 24 titles, the Swiftettes have won currently won four straight Class 1A state championships, along with 24 straight postseason victories.
“Being a Swiftette means everything,” said April Schmucker, a senior, who claimed her third state championship on the team. “It means you have to be extremely tough, and selfless. You know the tradition, you know who came before you. You have to leave it all on the court. Being my last game as a senior, that’s what I was going to do. Leave it all out there.”
Schmucker was a part of a big 16-0 second quarter run that helped Nazareth pull away from Lipan (34-4) in the second quarter, taking a 25-14 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Swiftettes built on that lead, extending the advantage to as many as 16 in the fourth quarter.
Schmucker finished with six points to go with six boards, but it was teammate Emma Kleman that was the offensive weapon for Nazareth. The junior tallied a team-high 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting, and going 4-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Kleman was named the Class 1A Tournament MVP, totaling 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in both games.
“Emma was one of the many players that had to overcome adversity,” said Schilling, who is now 253-82 in nine seasons at Nazareth. This team has had to fight, and it’s never easy to win, especially at state. At regional they had to step up without a leader in senior Cambrie Heiman.”
Nazareth senior Cambrie Heiman hugs her head coach Eric Schilling. Heiman is one of only seven Swiftettes to win four state championships. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]
Heiman, a four-year starter, and last seasons Class 1A Player of the Year, suffered an ankle injury against New Home in last Saturday’s regional final. After missing the state semifinal against Veribest, there was no way the senior going to miss the state championship.
Heiman played a limited 15 minutes against Lipan, contributing five points and seven boards.
Heiman, who is one of the best to ever put on the Swiftette jersey is now one of only seven Nazareth players to ever win four state titles.
“That means everything to me,” said Heiman, who ended her historic career playing in 141 games, scoring over 2,300 career points. “Growing up in Nazareth you always hear how great the Swiftettes are, and you see the banners in the gym. I have aunt’s who won state, and cousins who won. My goal was to just win one. To win four is just incredible.”
Nazareth 44, Lipan 31
Nazareth (31-8): Merry Gerber 2 0-3 5, Amy Schilderink 1 0-0 2, April Schmucker 1 4-8 6, Addie Dyer 1 5-6 7, Emma Kleman 3 4-6 11, Bilss Betzen 0 0-0 0, Makenzy Corrales 1 5-6 8, Kyanne Dunn 0 0-0 0, Cambrie Heiman 1 3-4 5, Maggie Nelson 0 0-0 0, Iris Schilderink 0 0-0 0, Jaden Pigg 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 21-33 44.
Lipan (34-4): Taylor Grove 0 0-0 0, Maggie Peacock 3 1-4 7, Lynsey Little 2 0-0 4, Kaylee Little 0 3-4 3, Taylor Clark 0 7-7 7, Marti Seymour 0 0-0 0, Lili Cogdill 0 0-0 0, Blaire Vance 0 0-0 0, Chelsea Lott 3 1-2 10, Dally Coulter 0 0-0 0, Trinity Benitez 0 0-0 0. Totals: 8 12-17 31.
Nazareth 6 25 34 44
Lipan 4 14 19 31
3-point goals: Nazareth 3 (Gerber 1, Kleman 1, Corrales 1), Lipan 3 (Lott 3). Total fouls: Nazareth 16, Lipan 27. Fouled out: Peacock, Clark. Techincal fouls: None.