White Oak’s Thrilling 56-54 Win Over Brock Secures Roughnecks’ Back-To-Back Class 2A State Championships
AUSTIN -- With 57.4 seconds remaining in a tied Class 2A state championship game, White Oak stalled, spread the floor, and cast its lot with its 5-foot-7 senior point guard.
As Kris Anderson began to make his move with 10 seconds left, the Frank Erwin Center crowd rose to its feet. Anderson shook the Brock defender with a left-to-right crossover in the lane, freeing him for a game-winning, right-handed runner with four seconds remaining that lifted the Roughnecks to a 56-54 victory in Saturday's title bout.
The victory gives White Oak (38-1) back-to-back 2A state championships and the fourth title in program history. The Roughnecks had identical 37-1 records in their consecutive championship seasons and beat Brock in the title bout both times.
Brock (32-7) called timeout with 2.6 seconds remaining, but the Eagles' final possession ended in a turnover. Tre Ewell slipped on the UIL logo near the right sideline shy of midcourt while cutting back toward the ball, and White Oak's Skylar Sutton intercepted the ball just across midcourt, burning the final seconds to ensure that the Roughnecks remain 2A champions.
"We ran 5, and that's where we stall and get the last shot," Anderson said. "We've been doing that for a long time, so I felt comfortable. When it got down to 8 (seconds), I just took what the defense gave me, and I've been doing that all year."
Anderson had 12 points and six assists and was named state tournament MVP. He had two points and 13 assists in Friday's 69-50 state semifinal win against Winnie East Chambers.
White Oak coach Ron Boyett knew exactly what he wanted to do with 57.4 seconds remaining following Brock senior forward Luke Hummel's sixth three-pointer, which tied the game 54-54.
"We wanted to make sure we got the last shot. Worst-case scenario, shoot and miss and play a little more," Boyett said. "I felt pretty good that when we got to about eight seconds and gave Kris the ball and spread everybody else out, something good was going to happen. We've done that a few times this year and the result is normally pretty positive. We put the ball in his hands. He's a four-year letterman and we trust the decision he's gonna make, and fortunately it went our way tonight."
White Oak built an 11-point first-quarter lead and led by nine points at halftime, but Brock stormed back in the second half, when Hummell hit four three-pointers. Brock tied the game 35-35 on senior guard Dylan Carrigan's trey at the third's 4:06 mark, but didn't take the lead. Hummel hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the period to cut White Oak's lead to 42-41, but junior guard Slade Sutton pulled up and drilled a 45-footer at the buzzer for a four-point cushion going to the fourth.
"We've been practicing that 45-footer and it finally paid off. I don't know what's taken him so long to hit that thing," Boyett joked after the game. "Slade's a little bitty toot, but I"m gonna tell you, he's a competitor. There's some fire in that little sucker there. He doesn't get scared. The stage doesn't scare him. The moment doesn't scare him. He wants the ball. You give it to him, he's gonna let it fly, and kinda like his big brother over here, there's a pretty good chance it's gonna go in."
Brock erased a 49-44 deficit with back-to-back triples from Hummel and Tre Ewell, who gave the Eagles a 50-49 lead with 2:45 left, their first since 2-0. Slade Sutton immediately answered with lead-changing trifecta off an Anderson assist with 2:25 to play. Anderson's pullup jumper with 1:25 left gave the Roughnecks a 54-51 lead, setting the stage for Hummel's game-tying three-pointer and Anderson's game-winning runner.
Hummel led Brock with 18 points. Senior guard Tre Ewell had 13 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore forward Lance Ewell added 12 points. White Oak, which had five players averaging double figures, got its typical scoring balance. Senior guard Skylar Sutton hit his first five shots, including four three-pointers, for 14 first-half points. Junior forward Hayden Nichols, who had 21 points and nine boards in Friday's state semifinal, had 12 points and seven boards against Brock. Slade Sutton also scored 12 points as he and his older brother -- a duo that combined for 1-for-14 three-point shooting Friday against East Chambers -- made 8 of 12 long-range attempts Saturday when it mattered most.
"The best thing about 1-for-14 yesterday was I felt darn good after because I knew it wasn't going to happen again today," Boyett said. "To see those two kids shoot every day in practice, I know how much work they've done on it, and I promise you, when they hoist it, I feel like it's going in. … I knew they'd bring it today. Besides their points, Skylar played his butt off on defense today. That's where we're gonna play first every time. When he does that, usually the offense takes care of itself."
Skylar Sutton said he could tell before the game he'd have a good day.
"I just felt really good during warmups, and it just carried over during the game," said the 6-foot sharpshooter. "I just kept shooting and it kept clicking. It kept going in."
Brock made a point to defend White Oak 6-foot-7 senior forward Levi Yancy as physically as possible early in the game, pushing him off the block and away from the lane. Yancy remained scoreless until a left-handed jump hook in the lane gave White Oak a 42-38 lead in the third quarter's final minute.
Nevertheless, Yancy made his presence felt. A day after a 16-point, 15-rebound, six-block semifinal performance, he had four points, a game-high 12 rebounds, and three blocks.
"We were trying to push (Yancy) off the block. We're not overly big. We knew it was going to be a physical game and we don't mind that at all," said Brock coach Jeff Bell. "He's just so long for us, so we were just trying to get up in him and get him off the block as much as possible."
Anderson picked up his second foul on a double technical with 4:00 left in the first half and White Oak leading 27-19. Boyett didn't want to risk Anderson getting a third, so he had to bench him for the remainder of the half.
Instead of seeing the lead dwindle, White Oak added one point to its margin with is floor general out of the game and took a 31-22 lead to intermission.
Boyett said that was huge, especially when coupled with two brief stretches that saw other players step up with Yancy on the bench.
"At halftime that's exactly what we tried to point out. That's probably the longest stretch in the playoffs we've played without Kris," Boyett said. "If we play somebody that's pretty good, Kris plays a lot. One thing about him is he's got a lot of stamina and he's a tough kid and he wants to play 32 minutes. The best thing about the first half is that the kids that we needed to step up did, and it rested Kris. He played a lot yesterday and he plays a lot all the time. I think the rest that he got helped us some in the second half. There's no doubt that was a crucial stretch and it's by far I think the best we've played all year when he was on the bench. When you get to this point you've gotta step up and do that. I thought Cass Carr when he came in for (Anderson), he gave us valuable minutes, particularly on defense. He played tough. He was solid. Slade the same way.
"We just kept plugging away. Same with Levi. A lot of times when Levi goes outta the game we have a hard time rebounding the ball, and we held in there with Hayden and JB. Josh Benson has had two great games yesterday and today. He's a kid that comes off the bench and is extremely unselfish. He just does whatever we've gotta have him to do. Those were crucial stretches with both of them. It was a total team effort."
White Oak's 2012 and 2013 state championships join the Roughnecks 1953 and 1957 Class A titles. White Oak, which has five state tournament trips, lost to Huntington in the 1959 Class A state semifinals.
Anderson, Yancy, and Skylar Sutton, White Oak's trio of seniors, led the Roughnecks to a 74-2 record during the last two seasons. Anderson and Yancy helped White Oak to a 104-6 record in the last three seasons.
"I always dreamed of winning one, but two, I just didn't really think about that," Skylar Sutton said. "Like coach Boyett said, thousands of other coaches and players have had the same dream as us, but God has blessed us to have some successful years here, and for that we're thankful."
White Oak 56, Brock 54
Frank Erwin Center, Austin
Brock -- 12 10 19 13 -- 54
White Oak -- 22 9 14 12 -- 56
Brock (32-7) -- Luke Hummel 18, Tre Ewell 13, Lance Ewell 12, Dylan Carrigan 6, Lane Southern 3, Micah Thornton 2.
White Oak (37-1) -- Skylar Sutton 14, Kris Anderson 12, Hayden Nichols 12, Slade Sutton 12, Levi Yancy 4, Josh Benson 2.