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Manvel girls carry Houston-area hopes into UIL state basketball tournament

The 2014 UIL Girls Basketball State Tournament gets underway Thursday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin and, when it does, the Manvel Lady Mavericks will be the only Houston-area team in the field.

Manvel (36-2) earned the school’s first-ever berth in the state basketball tournament with a 58-42 win over Cypress Woods in the Region III final Saturday afternoon at the Campbell Center.

They will play Plano West (27-5) in the second Class 5A semifinal Friday night at 8:30 p.m., following a matchup between Duncanville (34-0) and San Antonio Wagner (25-10) at 7:00 p.m.

But, other than Class 1A Division I Weimar, which is 90 miles west of the city, and Class 2A Hallettsville, another 25 miles southwest of Weimar, no other teams within 130 miles of downtown qualified for the tournament.

It’s no surprise that Manvel is the Class 5A representative from Region III, which encompasses the metropolitan Houston area. The Lady Mavericks were the consensus favorite to be the best team in the region.

But, the Houston area lost an opportunity for a Class 4A representative when Montgomery lost 53-42 to last year’s 4A state champion, Georgetown, on Saturday in the 4A Region III championship game at the Campbell Center.

So Manvel will be the lone Houston hope for a girls’ basketball state title in 2014. And their task of bringing a trophy home will not be an easy one.

Although the Lady Mavs lost just twice during the season and are currently ranked No. 2 in the state by TABC and No. 13 in the nation by USA Today, one of their two losses was to Duncanville, the top-ranked team in the state and No. 3 in the nation.

Even if Manvel gets past Plano West, as they are expected to do, in Friday’s state semi, a potential rematch with Duncanville awaits on Saturday night.

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Weimar (33-4) plays Kerens (28-4) in the Class 1A Division I state semifinal Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The winner will play in the 1A-I state championship at 8:30 AM Saturday morning.

Hallettsville (34-3) takes on Wall (33-4) in the first game of the day, a Class 2A semifinal, Friday at 8:30 a.m. The winner moves on to the 2A title game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.