Celina faces inspired Abilene Wylie in 3A final

AUSTIN, Texas -- Celina survived the long road to reach the 3A girls state championship game, but the toughest test still lies ahead.

Celina will face defending state champion Abilene Wylie and the pride of their program, Peyton Little, on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Wylie has reached the state final each of the past three years, losing to Texarkana Liberty-Eylau, 70-68 in 2010, and winning last year’s title over Lucas Lovejoy, 66-58.

It was in last year's state final that Little, a Texas A&M signee, set the record for most points in a Class 3A championship game with 43. Little, a four-star recruit, is listed as the No. 29 high school player nationally by ESPN Hoopgurlz.

And it’s Little that Celina will have to battle in the title game Saturday. That doesn’t just mean the talented scorer herself, but what she has meant to the Wylie program over the past four years and to her teammates in the locker room. Coach Tri Danley said this second state title wouldn’t be for the program as much as it will be to honor Little’s high school career.

“This is it for her," Danley said. "Those 12 girls in that locker room know that and they will go through that wall for her, and she’s going to do the same. That’s all I can ask them to do.”

Little said she can’t imagine what the feeling will be like taking off the Wylie jersey for the last time, but if Wylie wins, she might not have to find out.

“If she wins, we’re going to let her have [her jersey],” Danley said.