Jake Bell said his Martin’s Mill basketball team has embraced the team motto — One Unit Strong.

“They feed off each other’s energy,” Bell said from San Antonio. “They play defense together; they don’t care who gets credit. They are truly One Unit Strong.”

Thus far the Mustangs have been perfect on the court, compiling a record of 39-0 and earning a berth to the UIL state basketball tournament for the second straight year.

The experience of last year should help the Mustangs in 2020.

Martin’s Mill will meet San Saba (21-8), appearing in the state tournament for the first time since 1928, in the Class 2A semifinals on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The other 2A semifinal follows and has Shelbyville (36-3) meeting Gruver (30-5) at 10 a.m.

The championship game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“They get along on and off the court. They are such a great group,” Bell said of his Mustangs. “We always talk about that no one remembers the number of points someone scored or individual stats. Everyone looks at the number of banners in the gym.”

This will be the sixth trip to state for Martin’s Mill. The Mustangs’ won the Class B state championship in 1949 and also have appeared at state in 2006, 2007, 2015 and 2019.

Last year, the Mustangs lost to Gruver 55-42 in the state semifinals.

Members of the Mustangs include: 6-0 junior guard Carter Jones; 6-1 sophomore guard Colton Powers; 6-1 junior guard Logan Morrow; 6-0 junior guard Dylan Morrow; 5-10 sophomore guard Jose Perez; 6-1 junior forward/center Tanner Waynick; 5-10 junior guard Arnold Gutierrez; 6-3 junior guard/forward Christian Moss; 6-2 senior guard/forward Karson Godwin; 5-10 junior guard Jose Valenzuela; 6-2 senior forward Blaine Sigler and 5-10 senior guard Garrett Celsur.

Bell’s assistant is Josh Jones.

Support staff includes: managers Keagan Godwin, Case Perkins, Riley Reed and Jak Kinder; team doctor Amanda Bell; statisticians Tina Hilton and Keva Reed; athletic trainers Shad Reed and Tommy Cross; and video Shaun Parker and Natalia Ruiz.

This is San Saba’s second appearance at state. Shelbyville is appearing in its fifth state tourney and second straight, while Gruver is appearing in its 10th state tournament, including back-to-back appearances.

Shelbyville is the defending state champion and has won a total of three titles. Gruver has won two state championships.

NOTES: San Saba is the Armadillos. The school is located about 87 miles northwest of Austin. In 1855 ranchers and cotton growers first settled the banks of the San Saba River, from which the settlement took its name according to The Handbook of Texas online. San Saba calls itself the “Pecan Capital of the World.” ... Bell won his 200th career game earlier this season when the Mustangs defeated Sulphur Springs North Hopkins on Feb. 17.

2020 UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament

March 12-14

Alamodome, San Antonio

Thursday, March 12

Class 1A Semifinals

La Poynor (33-3) vs. Nazareth (26-8), 8:30 am.

Jayton (31-3) vs. Slidell (30-9), 10 a.m.

Class 3A Semifinals

Coldspring-Oakhurst (36-4) vs. Dallas Madison (23-12), 1:30 p.m.

Peaster (34-5) vs. San Antonio Cole (32-6), 3 p.m.

Class 5A Semifinals

San Antonio Wagner (35-5) vs. Mansfield Timberview (29-8), 7 p.m.

Lancaster (36-1) vs. Fort Bend Hightower (33-5), 8:30 p.m.

Friday, March 13

Class 2A Semifinals

Martin’s Mill (39-0) vs. San Saba (21-8), 8:30 a.m.

Shelbyville (36-3) vs. Gruver (30-5). 10 a.m.

Class 4A Semifinals

Argyle (33-4) vs. Stafford (32-9), 1:30 p.m.

Houston Yates (26-4) vs. Dallas Oak Cliff Faith Family (24-13), 3 p.m.

Class 6A Semifinals

San Antonio Brandeis (33-3) vs. Duncanville (29-5), 7 p.m.

Dickinson (32-5) vs. Wylie (32-7), 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 14

Class 1A Final, 8:30 a.m.

Class 3A Final, 10 a.m.

Class 2A Final, 1:30 p.m.

Class 5A Final, 3 p.m.

Class 4A Final, 7 p.m.

Class 6A Final, 8:30 p.m.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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