Second-Half Drought Sinks Douglass in Class A Division II State Championship vs. Roxton
AUSTIN -- A six-minute, 10-second drought cost Douglass dearly in Saturday's Class A Division II state championship game.
Roxton was more than happy to take advantage. The team that started the season as the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' top-ranked squad finished it that way, scoring 13 consecutive points during Douglass' drought,then holding on for a 60-54 state title victory at the Frank Erwin Center.
Roxton (30-4) won its first state championship in its third consecutive trip to the state tournament. Douglass finished the season 30-7 and made its first state tournament trip.
Douglass junior forward Bryce Westbrook hit a three-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter to cut Roxton's lead to 38-35. After a timeout, Roxton scored seven points in the final 68 seconds of the quarter for a 45-35 lead entering the fourth.
The run continued with back-to-back Qunton Walker buckets in the fourth's first 32 seconds, and senior guard scored again with 5:33 remaining for a 51-35 lead, the Lions' biggest of the game.
"In that timeout, we talked about getting more shots. We felt like we had to neutralize their shooters," said first-year Roxton coach Shawn Dalbert. "So we decided we were gonna go with some run-and-jump action. ... (With the double-digit lead) we felt like now the game had to come to us, so to speak. Their halfcourt offense is just impeccable. (Douglass) coach (Mark Leuschner) is a technician, so we did have to speed the game up right there. We said we're gonna give these guys one shot if we can and get out into transition and get some easy baskets."
Roxton picked up the pace in the second half after Douglass dictated the tempo most of the first two quarters. Walker finished with 20 points, four rebounds, and four steals, while senior forward Lester Green had 17 points and eight rebounds en route to being named state tournament MVP.
"They are very good and very talented. You can only keep them conatined for so long," Leuschner said. "I really thought our kids did a great job most of the night, and then they kinda got free during that (run) and we couldn't match them. Our kids battled and fought back, but that hole we dug was a little too deep. With a couple of minutes I wasn't gonna throw in the towel just yet with these kids."
Down 51-35, Douglass scored eight consecutive points -- all from brothers Bryce and Reed Westbrook -- to cut the deficit to 51-43 with 2:26 remaining. Douglass got within five points three times in the final 47 seconds, including once on a Reed Westbrook three-pointer and once on a Bryce Westbrook three-point play, but couldn't erase the 16-point margin Roxton built earlier in the quarter.
Bryce Westbrook had a game-high 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting with eight rebounds. Reed Westbrook, a senior guard, finished with 22 points, including 5-for-12 three-point shooting.
"They did a really good job of prolonging their possessions. They were very disciplined late in the game and it really forced us to take some more chances defensively, which give them some easier baskets," Leuschner said. "To their credit, they did a great job in the last quarter.
"I think they were a lot more aggressive going to the basket (in the second half), which led to some easy baskets when we helped. Their guards were really working themselves in there."
Dalbert agreed that his team's halfcourt execution was a key to holding on for the victory once the Lions claimed their double-digit lead.
"It's kinda like a boxer. You come out and throw some jabs and see if they're gonna counter. You don't wanna make any mistakes," Dalbert said. "That was my thought process, to run when it was an opportune time, but if not we knew we had to execute in the halfcourt. That's what we've talked about the entire year. When you get to this time in the season, there's gonna be times when there's gonna be teams that don't let you run. So I'm really pleased with the way we settled down and ran the halfcourt offense."
Roxton junior guard Kalyl McGuire had nine points. Senior guard Alex Williams scored seven points and senior guard Corinthian Greens added five points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
Douglass senior post Jake Raines had five points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while junior guard Jason Hobson had four points.
Reed Westbrook, Douglass' leading scorer this season and an all-state selection as a junior, reflected on Douglass' journey from an 2-3 district start to the state championship round.
"Earlier in the season we just wanted to get here (to the state tournament), but when we got here that wasn't even close to the goal that we had. We wanted to win state and get that ring," he said. "All credit to Roxton. They're a great team. We're really blessed to even be in this. The journey was the best and coach (Leuschner), he made it that way. He got us here. I've had so much fun playing with these guys."
Class A Division II
Roxton 60, Douglass 54
Frank Erwin Center, Austin
Douglass -- 11 11 13 19 -- 54
Roxton -- 13 11 21 15 -- 60
Douglass (30-7) -- Bryce Westbrook 23, Reed Westbrook 22, Jake Raines 5, Jason Hobson 4.
Roxton (30-4) -- Qunton Walker 20, Lester Green 17, Kalyl McGuire 9, Alex Williams 7, Corinthians Green 5, James Black 2.