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Ronald Cortes

Girls basketball: Argyle wins fourth straight state title behind Standifer sisters, McKinney

SAN ANTONIO — Argyle coach Chance Westmoreland said his team didn't spend much time talking about winning a fourth straight state championship. Now, the Lady Eagles can't shy away from the accomplishment.

Argyle opened Saturday night's Class 4A state title game on a 12-2 run before coasting to a 60-41 victory against San Antonio Veterans Memorial. The win gives the program its fourth consecutive state title and first under Westmoreland, who took over for Skip Townsend when the legendary coach retired after last season.

Townsend led the Lady Eagles to titles in the previous three seasons.

"It's an incredible accomplishment for this group of girls and feels amazing," Westmoreland said. "Winning four in a row is so special, but this has been all about this team. It did extend the streak, but this was the start of a complete new era."

After getting off to a slow start in Friday's semifinal against Houston Wheatley, Argyle emphasized the importance of having a much better start against a Veterans Memorial team that was playing in front of its home crowd.

The Lady Eagles did just that, holding the Patriots to 25 percent shooting in the first half while building a lead behind the play of sophomore Rhyle McKinney, senior Gabby Standifer and freshman Sydney Standifer.

Sydney Standifer, who struggled at times against Wheatley and finished with only five points on 1-of-9 shooting, adjusted to the big stage in time to play a key role for Argyle on Saturday.

The freshman led the way with 22 points and four assists, including a pair of key 3-pointers in the second quarter to snap the Lady Eagles out of a scoreless streak that lasted 3:53.

"I've never really played here, obviously," Sydney Standifer said. "[Friday] I was a little bit nervous, and the lights were kind of bright. But when we came in and were shooting around in warmups, I knew it was going to be much different. I had gotten used to it and gotten the jitters out."

The trio of the Standifer sisters and McKinney combined to score 56 of Argyle's 60 points, picking up right where they left off in the second half against Wheatley. Gabby Standifer, playing in her final game in an Argyle uniform, scored 14 points while McKinney had 20 points and six rebounds in the win.

"[There are] a lot of emotions," Gabby Standifer said. "I'm really happy, but it's kind of sad at the same time. I'm more overjoyed by everything, and I wouldn't want it to end any other way. Everything paid off, and I'm just so happy I got to do it with my sister and everyone else."

After getting off to the hot start they were looking for, the Lady Eagles struggled early in the third quarter and hit only one of their first eight field goal attempts. Veterans Memorial began to catch fire behind the play of junior guard Charlene Mass, who scored 11 points without missing a shot in the frame.

Eventually, Argyle began to pull away after the Patriots brought the game within 10 points on two occasions in the third quarter. The Lady Eagles never trailed, using the strong start to cruise to the win.

Argyle finished the year 34-7 and returns three of its five starters — Sydney Standifer, Brooklyn Carl, and McKinney — next season. Westmoreland said he will take some time to enjoy the win but was excited about his team's future prospects.

"As long as you have a championship DNA, I think you have a chance, and that's what we have here at Argyle," Westmoreland said. "We carried that over again and were able to get a championship with that this year."

Argyle 60, Veterans Memorial 41

Veterans Memorial 9 5 17 10 41
Argyle 19 11 15 15 60  

Veterans Memorial (33-10) -- Charlene Mass 18, Cheyenne Mass 3,, Vivian Castro 5, Brenna Perez 1, Sahara Jones 5, Arianna Aguirre 5, Marley Rokas 4.

Argyle (34-7) -- Rhyle McKinney 20, Brooklyn Carl 1, Morgan Yarbrough 3, Sydney Standifer 22, Gabby Standifer 14.