Rayburn secures Division 2 Silver bracket title in final 17 seconds
DEER PARK - Sam Rayburn’s basketball trophy case has a few of those unique McDonald’s Texas Invitational limestone trophies.
But what few there are of them are all consolation championship trophies, you know, the trophies a team gets for losing the first game of a bracket before winning the next two.
But this weekend, Sam Rayburn for once traveled in the opposite direction of the consolation side and, boy, was the experience worth it.
Keon Edwards’ three-point play in the final seconds and Diego Torres’ huge theft on the defensive side led to the Texans rallying for a dramatic 59-57 win over rival Dobie and the Division 2 Silver bracket championship at Cotton Watkins Gym.
By withstanding an 11-2 Longhorns run midway into the fourth period that temporarily gave Dobie a two-point lead, Sam Rayburn is celebrating its first true Texas Invitational title since the 2005 tournament when it won the Bronze crown.
“I’m proud of our guys. They played hard. Early in this weekend, we challenged them to come out with more urgency and to play with more toughness. The team that we looked like today and last night is nothing like the team we looked like Thursday morning,” Sam Rayburn head coach Ryan Campbell said.
Campbell was referring to a 53-45 loss to Angleton during Thursday’s first pool-play assignment.
Don’t look now but the win over Dobie was the club’s fourth straight win in the tourney.
As for Edwards’ game-winning bucket and foul shot, the all-district player got the ball just to the right of the lane, took several giant steps and scored in the paint.
“We were ready for a quick hitter out of a domino set and we were surprised that they went man. We were calling one of our man sets. I think he saw a scramble out of their set and he just attacked. He’s (Edwards) special. He’s just special,” Campbell said.”
But when Campbell heard the shrill of the referee’s whistle, he was thinking the worst.
“Honestly, I can’t believe we didn’t get a foul call. I thought that was a 50-50 call. I know how long these weekends are. That was a really good crew but even really good crews want to go home. I thought it was going the other way when they called and-1. I’m sure coach (Kevin) Cross felt the same,” Campbell said.
But with plenty of time for Dobie to answer back with a game-winning bucket, Torres came through with his big defensive stop.
“That was a big steal. He came over to us from football. This weekend, he kind of came into his own. He earned a chance to start today and more importantly, he earned a chance to finish the game,” Campbell said.
It was 36-36 in the third period when Sam Rayburn finished the stanza with a 10-2 run. Torres hit a tie-breaking 3-point goal, before Deunte Walls, Isaac Zarate and Walls, off a pass from Edwards, drained a trey, creating a 46-36 lead.
The advantage grew to 51-40, before Dobie went on a 15-4 rampage.
“Coach Cross teams are going to be aggressive and they were kind of falling back and letting us move it around. The tenacity picked up in the fourth and we got a little nervous,” Campbell said.
Marquice Scott and Larry Etienne hit big 3-point goals to tie the game at 55-55 with 2:16 remaining. Shannon Hayes then put Dobie on top with a lay-up and just 37 seconds left.
But that was just enough time for Edwards and Torres to come up with terrific victory-clinching plays.