They’re back: Nazareth punches ticket to fifth straight state championship game
Nazareth’s Emma Kleman goes in for layup against Westbrook in a Class 1A state semifinal in Frenship on Friday night. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]
The Nazareth Swiftettes drive for five is still alive after dominating Westbrook 48-17 in a Class 1A state semifinal game Friday night at Frenship High School.
The Swiftettes, now 26-4 on the season, built a big first half lead on the Lady Cats (26-5 overall) and never looked back in handing them a loss in their first state tournament appearance.
“Heading to another state title game never gets old,” said Eric Schilling, who has led Nazareth to six state championships in 10 seasons as the head coach. “This is what they work for. They don’t talk much about it because there’s enough pressure as it is”.
The Swiftettes played like they had no pressure on them using a solid defense and good ball movement to open up opportunities for easy buckets.
Nazareth’s defense was key early on holding the Lady Cats to four points in the first quarter and six total in the half.
“The defense was consistent for 32 minutes and that was key”. Schilling said. “The offense capitalized on that defense and ran out to a 17 point lead at the half.”
Nazareth senior Jaden Pigg echoed Schilling’s comments.
“Our goal was to push the ball and get them to run with us and eventually wear them down” Pigg said.
That’s exactly what the Swiftettes did.
Nazareth put the game away in the third quarter holding Westbrook to zero points in the quarter while tacking on 14 points and never looking back.
Last years state championship game MVP Emma Kleman was impressive scoring 13 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, as teammate Addie Dyer added 11.
The Lady Cats were led by Reagan Hale who tallied seven points in the loss.
Nazareth will try to add a record 25th state title in program history, and a fifth straight championship when they meet up with Dodd City in the Class 1A state championship at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Dodd City, which took down Neches 66-20 in the the other semifinal, will face the Swiftettes for the fourth time in five years losing the three previous matchups.
Nazareth 11 23 37 48
Westbrook 4 6 6 17
N— Emma Kleman 13, Addie Dyer 11, Jaden Pigg 9. W— Reagan Hale 7. Records: Nazareth 26-4; Westbrook 26-5.