— By GREG WEBB
AUSTIN – Although both teams revealed the nerve factor in the first quarter of a Class 2A semifinal at the UIL Boys State Basketball Tournament on Friday at the Erwin Center in Austin, timidity gave way to defensive energy as the contest wore on. The Eagles took the lead for good midway through the final period, and though the margin was far from comfortable, Brock stymied the Wildcats’ offense to win the semifinal match, 56-51.
The start of the game was a bit sloppy at both ends, but sweeter for Brock in the early going, as they led by seven at the close of the opening period. But Idalou’s height and opportunistic rebounding reversed the trend in the second quarter, giving the Wildcats the advantage at the half. Idalou finished the game with a 40-24 rebound advantage.
“We just weren’t getting after the ball in the first half,” said head coach Jeff Bell. “I think we started getting more aggressive on the boards in the second half, and may have done a better job of blocking out.”
Sophomore Lance Ewell played a significant role in turning the rebound fortunes and finished with 10 boards.
Although the Brock offense did not string together a big run in the game, the turning point in the contentious final period was a splurge of six points from senior forward Lane Southern, who hit a long-range arc and followed up with a layup, and one. Idalou closed to within two with 43 seconds left, but Bailey Cockburn’s layup and free throw ended the threat.
Senior Tre’ Ewell led Brock scoring with 16 points, Southern, Cockburn and senior Dylan Carrigan each threw in nine points. Micah Thornton came off the bench to add eight.
Brock faces White Oak on Saturday, in the 1:30 p.m. final. The Roughnecks roughed up East Chambers High from Winnie, 69-50, in Friday’s first game.
White Oak won the state title in 2012 with a 61-53 win over Brock. Carrigan, and his fellow seniors remember.
“I know we’re not supposed to think about last year,” said Carrigan when asked if Brock would have some additional impetus, this time around. “But it’s definitely on our minds. We know we have to take care of business.
“They are going to bring it, but so are we.”