Comanche National Bank takes a look at the Comanche Maidens Basketball and Other Area Teams Through The Years

As seen by 12,000 cars per day in Comanche, Texas

As seen by 12,000 cars per day in Comanche, Texas

Legendary Coach Leta Andrews coached the tradition rich Comanche Maidens early in her career.

Legendary Coach Leta Andrews coached the tradition rich Comanche Maidens early in her career.

Two years ago when I did this research for the gamefacetexas area football teams I quickly realized that there is really something special about football in this area. With all the state championships in the histories of many of the schools and the athletes that played on those teams it was quite apparent why football is such a big deal.

Now after doing the same type of research on the girls programs I find the same thing true about girl’s basketball in this part of Texas. And much like the football teams, the reason that it continues to be successful is because of the preparation and competitive level that it requires just to survive elimination from neighboring schools. Yes for this area success does breed success.

I know how tough that is on the area coaches and athletes but it sure makes life easier down the road when trying to get to the summit in any sport. This area is special in that regard.

Let’s look at what this area has done in their trips to the “Big Show” down in Austin through the years. Just looking back at the teams, Comanche and Wylie by far have made that trip more than any other schools. Wylie’s ten tournament appearances lead the pack. Comanche is right on their heels with nine trips to the high school final four. No other schools in the area has made more than three appearances, but there are three of those schools in the area. That list includes Hamilton, Jim Ned, and Priddy. Making it to Austin twice are: Clyde, Goldthwaite, Baird, Cross Plains, Glen Rose, May, Zephyr, Huckaby, Lipan and Brookesmith. Turning in single appearances are Santo, Stephenville, Eula, Dublin, Gordon, San Saba, and Merkel.

When we look at state champions, the Lady Bulldogs from Wylie have brought home the gold four out of the ten times that they have been on the floor on the campus of the University of Texas. The names that have helped bring home those championships read like a “Who’s Who” list in this area for girl’s basketball. To start things off, let’s remember the leader of Lady Bulldogs was Coach Stanley Whisenhunt in the 1970’s. Then in 1990 Coach Pat Penick and her version of the Lady Bulldogs brought the house down for the second UIL championship plaque in the trophy case. After 1990 the Lady Bulldogs played in the championship game three times in which they lost by a total of eight points. In 01’ they lost by three, in 06’ they lost by three and the two point loss was in 2010 in overtime to Liberty Eylau by 70-68 score. The 2010 season saw the emergence of one Peyton Little the Lady Aggie recruit from the famous Abilene area basketball family. She, her teammates and coach Tri Danley would not be denied the following two season as they captured state titles in 11’ and 12’. Wylie has made the trek to Austin an annual affair as they returned in both 13′ and 14′ only to be turned back by eventual state champions Waco LaVega first in the semi-finals and then by Argyle in the championship game the following year. This program remains a force to be reckoned with on the state level every year.

The Comanche Maidens won the first ever Class A title in Texas, at least any that has been sanctioned by the UIL. Under the direction of head coach Marguerite Ross, the Maidens narrowly defeated McLean by one 50-49. Mrs. Ross and the Maidens returned the following year only to lose to neighbor Hamilton in the semi-finals by 8 points at 33-25. After a 21 year absence from the state tournament Coach Leta Andrews began to build her storied career in Comanche as she led the Maidens to their third appearance in Austin. The Maidens fell in the championship game to a very tough Waco Midway team by a score of 65-46. Coach Andrews and the Maidens would return the next two years only to be ousted in the first round of the tournament. In 74’ they lost to Slaton by a 51-45 deficit and then the Bellville Lady Brahmas narrowly defeated them in 75’ in a high scoring affair by two at 72-70. Outstanding for the Maidens in this stretch of final four appearances was Linda Andrews, Leta’s daughter who would be named to three consecutive all tournament teams. Four years later the Maidens would return only to be sent home after one game again by the talented Lady Tigers from Slaton in a 16 point loss at 48-32. In the 80’s the Maidens only trip was in 1983 where they once again lost in the semi-final round to Barbers Hill 70-49. The 79’ and 83’ teams were coached by Judy Lacy a former Maiden and student of Leta Andrews. Late in the 1990’s the Maidens earned their eighth trip to the state tourney but were quickly sent home by Dripping Springs with a 61-50 first round loss. The following year Coach Becky Raesz and the Maidens not only downed Dripping Springs in the semi-final game but put on a huge fourth quarter rally to defeat Winnsboro by a 65-56 count to claim the 3A crown. Trailing by nine to start the final period the Maidens put on a furious rally to win by nine.

The Hamilton Lady Bulldogs, Priddy Lady Pirates, and Jim Ned Lady Indians have been to the tournament in Austin three times each. Much like Comanche, Hamilton was there in the beginning as the Lady Bulldogs won the 1952 Class 2A Championship with a 27-19 victory over Morton. Earlier in the semi-final game Hamilton defeated Comanche 33-25 to move to the next round. It would be quite a dry spell for Hamilton until they re-appreared in 1993. They had to settle for the runner-up spot as Marion defeated them by six: 69-63. In 1998 Coach Larry Eilers brought his determined team to Austin and captured the elusive state crown by downing a very good Ozona team by 54-45. That team was led by Kaci Marwitz and it gave neighbors Hamilton and Comanche state titles in the same year.

In the three trips to the capitol city the Lady Indians of Jim Ned have brought home the championship twice. Those two winning efforts were in their first two tries for the coveted state title. In 1994 they won a heart-stopper against Hemphill by two points 31-29 and then in 2008 they took out Poth 65-49 for their second crown in as many tries. Unfortunately 2012 was not so kind as they drew the perennial power Brock in the first game and fell to the Lady Eagles in a close one 41-37. They remain a power in the Abilene area of Texas.

The Priddy Lady Pirates made a run at the championship in 1984 with Larry Eilers as their coach at the time. The tournament regular back then was the Lady Swifts from Nazareth and they proved to be too much as they took down Priddy 59-32. In 1985, the girls from Priddy returned to Austin on a mission. This time they fought through the semi-finals with a shot once again at those panhandle girls and Nazareth Lady Swifts. Once again their effort would fall short but this time by a much less margin of eight points at 56-48. In 2001 point guard and current Brownwood Lady Lions Coach Heather Hohertz and the talented Alesha Stegemoller would not be denied. Not only did they win the Class A Division II Championship against Hedley 57-54, they also won the Texas Cup or the championship for all Class A teams by defeating LaRue LaPoynor in another three point game 66-63.

Clyde High School ( Denton Valley), Goldthwaite, Baird, Cross Plains, Glen Rose, May, Zephyr, Huckaby, Eula, and Brookesmith have all earned two trips to the state tournament but only Baird has captured the state title. They downed Jourdanton 85-68 in 1964 to take home the championship hardware. Baird would return the following year but would lose to Lubbock Roosevelt 66-38 in the first round and then lose the consolation game that is no longer played, to West Sabine 45-38.

As for the Lady Bulldogs from Clyde, they were defeated by Sudan 60-46 in the semi-final game but rebounded to defeat Sugar Land in the consolation game 54-49. Now Denton Valley which had a school in 1951 lost in the state championship game by two to the Lady Mustangs from Claude 42-40 in a Class B match-up.

In 1968 the Lady Tigers from Glen Rose were ousted in the first round of the tournament by a George West squad by twelve in a 55-43 loss. Three years later they would return and fight their way into the title game before losing to Claude 46-33.

The Bonnie Buchanan-led Lady Tigers from May went to Austin for their first search of a state crown in 1976 but lost in the semi-final game by four to Crawford 53-49. The following season they would have to face the dreaded Nazareth team and ended up losing once again in the first round by a 73-54 score.

Zephyr made the trip to Austin from this area along with Comanche and Hamilton in 1998 but did not fare quite as well as they dropped their opener in the tournament by 13 to the team from Celeste, 43-30. This was their second appearance as they had earned a trip in 1996 only to lose in the first round that year to Karnack by nine in a 58-49 contest.

Huckaby made their first trip to the tourney in 1972 where they battled their way into the title game only to lose a close one to Round Top-Carmine by 54-48. The Huckaby girls would return in 2006 and would drop the opening game to Kennard by a 66-40 score.

In 1954 Eula earned their first visit to the final four in Austin. Lead by Jean Farmer, who had helped Denton Valley reach the state tournament in 1951 and then selected to the all-tournament team, the Lady Pirates fell in a heart breaker to the Lady Mustangs from Claude 55-54. Farmer was named to the all-tournament team for a second time but in a different uniform. The Lady Pirates lost in the semi-final round to Sudan by a 54-35 score in 1983 in their second appearance in Austin.

The Lipan Lady Indians made back to back trips to the state tournament in 2014 and 2015. In spite of her all-tournament performance both years, Lanie Roberts could not help her team solve the Swiftettes from Nazareth either season. Nazareth took them out in the semi-finals their first trip and then did it again in the finals in 15′.

Brookesmith is the final area school with more than one appearance and the Lady Mustangs made a fight of it in 1997 before losing the championship game to the girls from Whiteface by a 59-39 score. Four years later Brookesmith returned but were turned back in the semi-final game by Nazareth 93-45.

In their single appearance at the tournament the Stephenville Honey Bees made the most of their opportunity as they captured the state crown by downing West Orange in 1968, 41-27. They brought home the championship plaque for Class 3A

The Lady Lions from Dublin made the trip to the tournament in 1992 and drew Marion in the first round. The Lady Lions were eliminated as they dropped their first game 66-42.

In 2005 the Lady Longhorns from Gordon represented their region and drew the ever-tough Kennard team. The Gordon team fought hard but fell in a ten point game 61-51.

San Saba appeared at the state tournament in 2011 after having to win a playoff game for third place in district. Once they won that game Haylee Oliver and company caught fire and never looked back until they caught Brock in their first round game. After leading the Lady Eagles for much of the game they would finally fall in a heartbreaker 37-32.

In the 2012 season Allison Szabo and her teammates entered the state tournament with a single loss to district foe Comanche. They also got the bad news that they would play Brock in the opening round. The perennially present and tough Lady Eagles dropped the Lady Badgers by eight in a 40-32 game.

In 2014 Santo fought their way to the tournament behind all-tournament selection Breanna Raffaele but were eliminated by the eventual champion Plains Cowgirls in the semi-finals.

This area has produced some outstanding basketball teams in girl’s competition through the years. Not only have there been outstanding teams there have also been outstanding individuals as well.

Leading that list of great players are two ladies who were big reasons that their respective teams are the two most represented at the state tournament in Austin. First is the former Comanche Maiden Linda Andrews Waggoner and Peyton Little. These two ladies made the tournament three times each. Linda Waggoner, daughter of Leta Andrews, has been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame at the University of Texas for her heroics while playing for the Lady Longhorns. Little currently stars for the Texas A&M Lady Aggies.

Following is a list of women (girls) who made the state tournament team:


Rita Wagoner (64)

Sharon Martin (70)

Anita Cowan (70)

Judy Holloway(70)

Lynn Corn (90)

Missy Davis (90)

Shanna Briggs (90)

Kierstan Barbee (01)

Kelsey Darby (06)

Mackenzie Clay (10)

Peyton Little (10) (11) (12)

Natalie Davis (11)

Kylie Jenkins (12)

Brittany Brewer (13) (14)



Florence Jo Coan (51)

Neita Myrle Smith (51)

Mary Jean Andress (52)

Linda Andrews (73) (74) (75)

Cyndra Frick (73) (74)

Connie Mankin (75)

Linda Mazurek (76)

Amber Ward (97) (98)

Nicole Harlmon (98)

Kristi Tyson (98)


Sharon Jeter (64) (65)

Paula Corn (65)



Bobbie Collins (59)

Patsy Crow (51) Denton Valley

Jean Farmer (51) Denton Valley

Ann Gotcher (51) Denton Valley


Jean Farmer (54) * See Denton Valley above

Cross Plains

Carolyn Tunnell (67)

Glen Rose

Linda Ice (63)

Pula Marsh (68)

Candy Marks (71)

Kathy Smith (71)


Vanessa Auldridge (2000)

Jim Ned

Renee Graham (94)

Dusty Brown (94)

Shelby Easterling (08)

Renee O’Dell (08)

Cassi Wright (08)

Meagan O’Dell (12)


Nadine Tieman (85)

Heather Hohertz (03)

Alesha Stegemoller (03)

San Saba

Haylee Oliver (11)


Hazel Manning (52)

Tommie Harlien (52)

Hallye Johnson (52)

Josie Brumbalow (93)

Tran Yong (93)

Kaci Marwitz (98)

Natoschia Robertson (98)


Karen Spain (72)

Vickie Pack (72)


Lanie Roberts (13) (14)


Bonnie Buchanan (76) (77)

Karla Murdoch (77)


Allison Szabo (13)

Ciara Cope (13)


Breanna Raffaele (13)


Debbie Ballow (68)

Tula Lewallen (68)

About Ronnie Clifton

Ronnie Clifton was a Texas Football Coach for 29 years. In addition to football, Clifton also served as the head coach in basketball and both girls and boys track. “I loved being involved in and playing sports as a kid, and I soaked up every ounce of available information about any sporting event; I also love to write. What better combo for me than becoming the writer of a sports blog?”
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One Response to Comanche National Bank takes a look at the Comanche Maidens Basketball and Other Area Teams Through The Years

  1. Missy Jones says:

    At the top of the list for Comanche: Florence Jo Coan, Neita Merle Smith and Mary Jean Andress, all players for Marguerite Ross. There cannot be enough said for Miss Ross and her state champions. Maybe many do not know of the story and just how she came to be coaching girls basketball. Missy Jones

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