The Dollar Tree: Father-Daughter duo leads Newcastle to first state championship in school history


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SAN ANTONIO -- In the waning seconds of the 1A State girl's basketball championship, Mattie Dollar went to the free throw line with tears in her eyes. Partly because she'd just taken a nasty spill on the other end. Mostly because she looked at the clock and realized her Newcastle team was 20 seconds away from a state title.

It took one year for head coach Ryan Dollar and his daughter to deliver the first state championship to Newcastle High School, in any sport.

"A dream come true," Mattie said. "I've been wanting to do this my whole life. That we get to do it together is just amazing, and I'm really thankful for this opportunity."

For Mattie, the 24-point MVP performance in Newcastle's 48-32 victory over Turkey Valley was the culmination of the time she'd spent in the gym and film room since kindergarten. Her commanding court presence serves as an assistant coach for her father on the floor, even if she wants to ditch that "assistant" title sometimes.

"Sometimes she thinks she's the coach, but we have to settle that down usually in the truck on the way home," Dollar said.

But while Mattie took home MVP honors with a double-double (24 points, 11 rebounds), it wasn't easy sledding on the offensive end thanks to Turkey Valley's swarming defense. The good news for Newcastle? Their defense was better. Turkey Valley shot 13-of-52 from the field as senior forward Mya Cabrera swatted five shots away in the paint and 5-foot-5 freshman point guard Camren Mallory outwilled everyone else on the court for nine rebounds. Cabrera said postgame their strategy was swarming the paint and forcing Turkey Valley to their left.

"We've preached and preached about defense," Dollar said. "If they can't score, they can't win."

Facing a crowd bigger than their entire town in a game no athletic program had ever reached, Newcastle didn't blink. The Ladycats kept their starting lineup in the entire contest. 

"We really haven't played scared all year long," Dollar said. "Even Thursday, we show up, and it's just like, 'Do they know where we're at?' They show up and play just like another game."

While Dad Dollar said accepting the trophy and gold medal didn't feel real yet, Daughter Dollar knows the significance of Saturday's win.

"The school will remember us forever," Mattie said. "It'll be so cool to look back on this moment in the future."

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