Gilbert Highland girls basketball coach Miner Webster has the hang of this state championship thing.
Webster won his seventh state title Friday when the Hawks beat Chandler High 49-39 in the 5A girls Division I title game at Jobing.com Arena.
Webster has now won five state titles at Highland after capturing his first two at Gilbert High. His only loss in eight championship games came in 1998, when the Hawks lost to Mesa Mountain View.
“It doesn’t get old for me,” Webster said. “These kids have never won one. That’s my excitement, to see these kids work as hard as all the other Highland kids. That’s the great thing.”
Highland, the No. 3 seed, had to work hard to beat No. 8 Chandler. The game wasn’t decided until the final four minutes, when the Hawks pulled away.
“I’m great now, but I thought I was going to blow a blood vessel,” Webster said.
The Hawks, who finished the season 33-3, were led in scoring by senior forward Stephanie Beeman, who had 16 points.
After Highland exchanged the traditional postgame handshake with Chandler, its players gathered near midcourt to pose with the championship trophy. They held up a finger to proclaim they’re No. 1, screamed and smiled.
A couple of seconds later, Webster cradled the trophy in his arms.
“It’s always worth it when you’re holding this baby,” he said. “This has been such an easy group. They can frustrate you at times because they’re so young, but I love each and every one of them to death. They’re great kids.”
Webster’s eighth title may not be far off. Highland had just one senior in Friday’s starting lineup.