The Hightower Hurricanes’ season ended a game short of their goal, as Amarillo beat them 64-53 in the state semifinals last Thursday in San Antonio.
The Hurricanes started fast as they jumped to an 8-2 lead after just three minutes had gone by in the first quarter. Amarillo came back to tie the score at 12 with 0:46 to go in the first quarter, and the Sandies then scored on a layup and a three-pointer at the buzzer to take a 17-12 lead into the second quarter.
Hightower roared back in the second quarter to take a 32-29 lead with 1:39 to go in the half, but once again, Amarillo’s Ashlyn Milton hit a three-pointer with 1:28 to go and another one at the buzzer to give the Sandies a 35-32 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Hightower cut the lead to 42-41 with four minutes to go, but Amarillo went on a 6-2 run to finish the third quarter with a 48-42 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Hightower closed the gap to 53-51 on a Winnie Kuimi layup with 3:45 to go in the game. However, Amarillo finished the game on an 11-2 run to win the game 64-53.
Kuimi led Hightower with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Tae’lor Purvis had 10 points and six assists, Destini Lombard had nine points, Aresa Gipson chipped in with eight points, and Sydni Johnson had six points.
“My team this year is a collective group of young women who are unselfish and do whatever it takes to get the win; their team chemistry is what sets them apart,” Hightower Coach Deborah Mize said. “They have a competitive spirit and a refuse to lose mentality all while putting the team needs ahead of the individual performances. I am very proud of them.”
Hightower finished the season with a record of 38-3, and Mize’s career record at Hightower is now 366-94.
In the championship game, Amarillo beat Liberty 47-42 to win its second consecutive state championship.
In the boys’ basketball tournament, three Fort Bend ISD teams made it to the regional semifinals before having their seasons come to an end. In the 6A Region 3 semifinals, George Ranch beat Bush 48-42 and North Shore beat Elkins 69-62 in overtime. In the 5A Region 3 semifinals, Manor beat Hightower 85-77.