The Dallas Morning News
3-pointer with :01 left ends Coppell’s dream
Desperation shot sends state’s No. 1 team to 6A championship game
SAN ANTONIO — Natalie Huff broke Coppell’s hearts with one incredible shot.
With the clock winding down and state No. 1-ranked San Antonio Clark trailing by two, Huff let fly with a desperation shot from just outside the arc that swished through the net with one second left to give Clark an improbable 49-48 win over 11thranked Coppell in a Class 6A state semifinal at the Alamodome.
Huff wasn’t planning on taking the final shot, but with no timeouts, she found no other options as she dribbled up the court, so she put up the biggest shot of her career. The junior guard didn’t realize she had hit a game-winner, but she found out quickly enough, as she was mobbed by her teammates.
“I thought I tied the game,” said Huff, who hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. “We were trying to set up a play for Ramsey [Robledo], but then we weren’t on the same page, and I just went up and it went in.”
Coppell wasn’t in the bonus, and coach Ryan Murphy said his team was trying to foul in the final seconds to force Clark to have to take the ball out of bounds.
“The game just went two seconds too long,” Murphy said. “Good players make big shots, and she hit a big shot.”
It was a familiar feeling for Coppell (38-4), which was making its first appearance at the state tournament. Hebron beat Coppell 48-45 on a 3-pointer by Sydnee Jones with one second left on Feb. 4 to win the District 6-6A title.
Clark (33-3) trailed by five with 45 seconds left after Coppell senior guard Macey Mercer hit two free throws to make it 4540. But a 3-pointer by Robledo sparked the extraordinary rally, and after Mercer hit two more free throws with 24.8 seconds left to extend the lead to four, Kamryn Griffin brought Clark within 47-46 on a three-point play with 14.3 seconds remaining.
“I’m really proud of them for not giving up,” Clark coach Rihana Houy said. “They played with their hearts.”
Clark will have a chance to win its first state title at 8:30 p.m. Saturday after losing to eventual state champion Desoto in last year’s state semifinals. Coppell finished 75-6 over the last two years after missing the playoffs four years in a row from 2018 to 2021.
“I’m proud of my team,” said Coppell’s Julianna “Jules” Lamendola, a four-star Indiana signee who had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists in her final high school game. “Four years ago, none of this was even on our minds. It was a team effort. Without any one of those 13 girls on our roster, we wouldn’t be here.”
Four-star recruit Arianna Roberson, a 6-4 center who is ranked as the 29th-best junior in the nation, had 22 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Clark. Roberson, the sister of former NBA player Andre Roberson, picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game and sat out for almost the rest of the first quarter.
But she dominated in the second quarter, scoring nine of her 11 first-half points in the period as Clark took a 21-19 lead into halftime. She then played a big role in Clark’s rally, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter.