Heartbreak: Kimball ends historic Memorial season in Region II-5A Final overtime | Sports

GARLAND — During the first four quarters of Saturday afternoon’s Region II-5A Finals, the Frisco Memorial boys’ basketball team’s game plan played out exactly as the Warriors intended. .

Memorial – playing in its first regional final in just its fourth season as a program – kept Arterio Morris in check, used methodical pace to break up Kimball’s defense and received timely offensive contributions from senior guards Avery Jackson and Isaiah Foster .

And while the Warriors put on that great play in the first two minutes of overtime, four costly turnovers from Memorial and nine points from Knights senior Trae Clayton allowed Kimball to go 18-5 overtime – a run. which proved too much for the Warriors to overcome in an 80-67 loss at the Curtis Culwell Center.

Kimball (30-8) will advance to next week’s Class 5A state tournament in San Antonio and will seek to avenge a 71-70 overtime loss to Beaumont United in the championship game. Memorial, meanwhile, saw its best season end at 33-4.

“They were the more aggressive team in overtime, which kind of benefited them because the referees made some crucial decisions,” Memorial head coach Quinton Gibson said. “But they knocked down some big shots. Chauncey [Gibson] hit a few 3s in the fourth quarter. We got up at eight o’clock but never really got to push to nine or twelve.

Memorial accepted the challenge to defend Morris, and the Warriors won that battle. Morris, who entered the game averaging 19.4 points per game this season, was limited to 12 points on Saturday.

And while Memorial managed to limit Morris’ offensive output, Kimball unleashed 4-star guard Clayton. Clayton sprinkled a basket or two every now and then through the first three quarters, but he caught fire in the fourth quarter and overtime. He completed three lay-ups in a span of 71 seconds before capping a 25-point performance with an emphatic dunk with seven seconds left on the ball.

“He just played physical and played with pace,” Gibson said of Clayton. ” That was all. If he had 25, he probably had 12 on the free throw line. I would like to see what he shot at the free throw line. He just got to a point where he imposed his will.

Memorial imposed its will at the start.

The Warriors showed they weren’t afraid of the moment in what was the biggest game in the program’s brief four-year history, taking a 15-8 lead after Foster buried a 3-pointer with 3: 54 to go in the first quarter.

Foster as well as Jackson were able to exploit holes in Kimball’s defense, especially on the basket drives. Foster scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half. Jackson buried two 3s in the first quarter before heading for the foul line six times in the fourth quarter, making all six attempts. He led all Warriors in scoring with 23 points.

“Isaiah Foster has been our point guard since we opened our building and Avery has been a rock doing all the little things,” Coach Gibson said. “It sucks we were going to lose those guys, but they set the tone for us and set an example for the younger guys.”

Kimball turned his defensive pressure to lead up to five points in the second quarter, but Memorial regrouped and took its biggest lead of the game at 45-37 after a Jackson 3-pointer with 2:48 left in the third. quarter.

The Knights fought back in what was an intense fourth quarter and even had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but a drop attempt by junior DaCannon Wickware rebounded. But Kimball took care of business in overtime.

Although Memorial saw its season end in heartbreaking fashion, Coach Gibson realized what his team had accomplished as the final seconds of the game clock expired. He clapped and then waved to the Warriors fans in attendance. Gibson guided Memorial to its first playoff victory this season, an undefeated run in the 9-5A district and a final No. 5 ranking in the 5A class.

“Right now, as I’ve been telling everyone in the dressing room, it sucks that we’ve lost,” he said. “But we’ll have a team banquet and reflect on the great season we’ve had. I told them that 20 wins is tough. We have 33, which is great. We’ll be better off. Kimball is a great team. They went to the state championship last year. They have that pedigree that we want to achieve.