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Second-Ranked Tatum Meets Bushland in Friday’s Class 2A State Semifinal

Tatum’s Kyshaun Smith puts up a shot during the Eagles’ 84-82 overtime win over Kountze in the Class 2A Region III championship game March 1 in Nacogdoches. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

UIL Boys State Basketball Tournament

Class 2A State Semifinal

Tatum (34-4) vs. Bushland (27-8)
  • When: 10 a.m. Friday
  • Where: Frank Erwin Center, Austin

 

Road to Austin

Tatum
  • Bi-district: def. Frankston, 94-59
  • Area: def. Newton, 70-43
  • Regional quarterfinal: def. Nacogdoches Central Heights, 56-54
  • Regional semifinal: def. Marlin, 79-28
  • Regional championship: def. Kountze, 84-82 (OT)

 

Bushland
  • Bi-district: def. Dimmitt, 60-26
  • Area: def. Denver City, 48-45
  • Regional quarterfinal: def. Idalou, 54-38
  • Regional semifinal: def. Wall, 66-54
  • Regional championship: def. Brownfield, 63-47

 

Tatum’s Klifton Willis works his away around Nacogdoches Central Heights defenders during Tatum’s 56-54 win in their Class 2A Region III quarterfinal Feb. 25 in Whitehouse. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Players to watch

Tatum
  • Chaston Brooks, G, Jr., 6-1 — XXXX
  • Robbie Rockwell, G, Sr., 6-0 — XXXX
  • Klifton Willis, G, Sr., 6-1 — XXXX

 

Bushland
  • Taylor Cornelius, G, Sr., 6-6 — 13.2 ppg., 9.1 rpg., 2.0 apg., 3.0 spg.
  • Tate Smalligan, F, Soph., 5-11 — 12.4 ppg., 5.1 rpg., 1.2 apg., 1.3 spg.
  • Colter Cornelius, G, Sr., 6-1 — 8.1 ppg., 3.0 rpg., 1.9 apg., 3.3 spg.

 

Tatum’s Robbie Rockwell. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

What to expect: Tatum is no doubt still riding high from its last-second OT win over top-ranked Kountze last Saturday for the regional championship. But don’t let that fool you … Tatum has been here before; the Eagles are making their third state tournament appearance and first since 2011. The Region III winner has won the 2A state title in each of the last two years — Tatum’s district rival White Oak won it all in 2012 and 2013. The Eagles have no true go-to guy, evidenced by their regional final victory over Kountze. Willis, who hit the game-winning shot, didn’t score at all in the first half. Neither did Martin Williams, who led Tatum in scoring with 19 points. Bushland is much more methodical on offense, which goes through 6-6 post Taylor Cornelius. If Tatum can limit his touches underneath the basket, the Eagles stand a great chance of reaching Saturday’s title game.

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