ROCKWALL — Denied a trip to the Class 2A state final in last year’s regional tournament, the senior-laden Brock Eagles were not to suffer the same fate in the Class 3A, Region II final. Except for a brief span to begin the third quarter, Van Alstyne failed to really threaten the Eagles’ lead as Brock earned a berth in the state tournament with a 67-55 win on Saturday, at Rockwall Heath High School.
Brock took the lead at the front end of the contest, though both defenses governed sparse scoring early on. But the closing few minutes of the opening period produced a spurt of long-range hits for the Eagles, while Van Alstyne struggled to drum up a consistent push on the offensive end of the court.
Brock swelled its lead to 15 points in the second quarter, though the Panthers were able to answer while providing some timely stops.
With Brock leading by nine at the break, Alstyne’s halftime planning reaped some benefit, with a run to reduce Brock’s margin. Three minutes into the third quarter, the Panthers had put together an 8-2 run, reducing Brock’s lead to three.
But the run, and the spectre of erasing the Brock lead was short-lived for the Panther hopefuls, as they saw the Eagles again apply defensive pressure and pushed the margin back into double digits by the end of the third period.
Though Van Alstyne kept the energy level up, the Eagles had already settled in, playing a dominant defensive game for the duration. By the final minute mark, head coach Zach Boxell pulled the starters off the floor to relish some victory bench time.
One of the minor negatives for Brock in the final quarter was Micah Thornton taking an early seat after his fifth foul, but the match was well in hand by then.
Class 3A Region II Champion Brock will play in the State semifinal on Thursday at the AlamoDome in San Antonio, the new venue for the UIL State Basketball Tournament. Game time will be either 1:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. The final will be played on Saturday, with a 10 a.m. tip off.