Tenaha Holds Off Kerens In 2A Regional Semis + Faces No. 1 Team In State Saturday
JEWETT -- Tenaha was in a really good spot up 15 points against Kerens early in the third quarter of Friday's Class 2A Region III semifinals game at Leon High School in Jewett.
It was a two-point game at the end of the period.
Credit sophomore Cody Foshee for finishing the Tigers' cause. He scored 12 points of his tied-for-team-best 23 in the fourth quarter to help his young squad into the regional championship game in the form of a 74-67 win.
"I give them credit," Tenaha head coach Greg Jenkins said. "I give them a lot of credit. The kids responded and built it back up to seven. I was glad they got some good buckets. Cody Foshee was very active again for us tonight."
So was Ja'Qualin Franks with 20 points in the first half on the way to 23. The freshman opened the game shooting 6-for-6 from behind the 3-point line, which gave the No. 4 Tigers (25-8) a 31-25 second quarter advantage and served as the framework to build up their largest lead of 49-34 about a minute into the second half.
As his shooting cooled down and Kerens (18-13) battled back to a 55-53 deficit for the start the final quarter, Tenaha needed an enormous boost. Kerens' crowd was ready to blow the roof off the gym with one more swish, and their bench was feeling the switch in momentum.
Kerens started the fourth quarter with possession, got a good look for the basket, got the rebound and reset for a short 3-point attempt before Franks was able to come up with a loose ball at the middle of the key.
Foshee drove the remaining length of the floor on a fast break for just two points. But that was enough to at least temporarily break the spirit of Kerens' 12-2 run.
The sophomore got another basket 30 seconds later. Then, another 30 seconds after that and a Kerens response, senior Colton Goeke got one to fall for a legitimate counter run. A Franks free throw upped the stretch to a 64-57 lead nearly midway through the frame.
Kerens never got within five points again. Foshee led Tenaha's last four minutes with six more points.
"Our team wasn't doing to hot in the first half (of the second half)," Foshee said. "So, I tried to pick them up in the second half. I guess it kind of worked."
The game ended on a blood boiling note for Kerens head coach Brock Ramsey. Kerens called a timeout with 19 seconds remaining after Chadwick Bivins got a jumper to go for a 72-67 score.
Kerens had two fouls to give before it could put Tenaha in the bonus and bank on some missed free throws.
Goeke received the inbound pass at the key of his defensive zone and weaved around would-be foulers for 15 seconds.
Kerens didn't put the Tigers on the line until the 2.4-second mark and Foshee knocked down both free throws.
Jenkins liked what he saw from Goeke on a night that closed for the senior 12 points below average at 17.
"A lot of people say we can't win if he's not putting the ball in the basket," the winning head coach said. "I think we proved them wrong tonight. Against a pretty tough team. They were really good off the dribble. We run a variety of zones and they still broke our zones down off the dribble all night long.
"The good thing is, the regional tournaments, the way it usually works out is if you play, in your eyes, bad that you usually come out and play good. That's what I'm hoping happens."
Katerius Douglas paced Kerens with 21 points. Tay'Mont Lindsey and Cornell Sayles also reach double digits at 20 and 12, respectively.
Tenaha will face No. 1 Dallardsville Big Sandy today at 2 p.m. back inside Leon High School's gymnasium. It will be the third straight year the two sides have met in the postseason, with each team taking a win.
Big Sandy, which carved up Grapeland en route to a 73-41 win an hour before the Tigers' game tipped off, earned a 59-38 win against Tenaha last season in the 2015 Class 2A Region III championship game at Leon High School.
The Tigers opened that game with a 13-4 lead but lost control during a 21-0 Big Sandy run.
"We've won 25 games starting two freshmen and two sophomores," Jenkins said. "Most of them didn't play last year for a variety of reasons. I mean, they didn't even play. If anybody from Tenaha or anywhere else would tell you they expected us back in the regional finals, much less winning 25 games, they'd be lying.
"We went 10-0 in district. The guys have just done a wonderful job. They've done everything I've asked them to do. They worked hard in practice. We've put ourselves in a chance for a one-gamer tomorrow against the best team in the State of Texas. Hey, if we can get a couple of stops and the ball will fall in the bucket a little bit, you never know. You never know."
No. 4 Tenaha 74, Kerens 67
Boys Class 2A Region III Semifinal
At Leon High School, Jewett
Tenaha 21 21 13 19 -- 74
Kerens 20 10 23 14 -- 67
TENAHA (25-8) -- Cody Fooshe 23, Ja'Qualin Franks 23, Colton Goeke 17, Trai Gardner 6, Jay Lloyd 3, LaDarrius Garrett 2.
KERENS (18-13) -- Katerius Douglas 21, Tay'Mont Lindsey 20, Cornell Sayles 12, De Qualyn Lawrence 6, Tristan Evans 5, Kiyandre Johnson Faulk 3.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Tenaha: Franks (6), Goeke. Kerens: Lindsey, Sayles.