The well-worn motto of "defense wins championships" is heard on the football field a lot more often than the basketball hardwood. But the saying was never more true than in Flower Mound Marcus'
40-38 victory over Garland Lakeview Centennial
on Saturday in the Class 5A state championship.
The defense of Marcus (39-1), the No. 4 team in MaxPreps' Xcellent 25 rankings, squeezed the life out of No. 12 Lakeview (37-2) in the first half. And in the second half, Lakeview's full-court pressure defense helped erase a 20-point deficit.
It came down to one last defensive stop for Marcus, as Lakeview point guard Chris Jones
missed a 10-foot floater just before the buzzer.
"We pride ourselves on defense," said Marcus guard Marcus Smart
, who was named the game MVP after scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. "We think we have the No. 1 defense in the state."
Smart might be right. Lakeview, which scored more than 80 points 17 times during the season, fell behind 29-9 at halftime. Lakeview, which was also the 5A runner-up last season, hurried shots, settled for long 3-pointers and couldn't force many turnovers with its press.
"We weren't playing our game," said Jones, who led all scorers with 17. "We were playing at Marcus' speed. We needed to play at our speed to get back in the game."
Lakeview got the game to its speed in the third quarter, when it thoroughly flustered Marcus with its pressure defense. The Marauders turned the ball over repeatedly and Lakeview turned the mistakes into easy baskets, outscoring Marcus 22-2 in the quarter to tie the game at 31.
"They're just a phenomenal defensive team," Marcus coach Danny Henderson said. "They came out in the second half and turned up the volume."
And after scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter, extending the scoring run to 27-2, Lakeview was up 36-31 with 7:28 left. Marcus finally got its legs back, however, and scored the next seven points, capped by a rebound follow by Smart. Another basket by Smart gave Marcus a 40-36 lead before Lakeview's Cameron Leonard
made a layup to make the score 40-38.
Lakeview fouled Nick Banyard
with 19 seconds left, and the Marcus forward missed both free throws. Lakeview decided not to call a timeout and Jones got a good look at the basket, but his shot rimmed off.
"The kids just hate to lose," Henderson said. "They really just refused to lose."
The other championship games Saturday: Class 4AKimball (Dallas) 78, La Marque 64
Guard Shannon Lilly made 5 of 6 3-pointers on his way to 23 points and Kimball (38-3) held off a late rally by La Marque (33-6). Kimball made 8 of 12 3-pointers to help offset a big night by La Marque guard Julien Lewis
, a Texas signee who led all scorers with 26.
It was the fourth state title for Kimball and its first since 1997. Class 3AWest Oso (Corpus Christi) 61, Burkburnett 57
Forward Raymond Robinson scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds as West Oso (35-3) rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit. Class 2AIdalou 55, Tatum 54Riley Payne
scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four assists to lead Idalou (33-1). Class 1A Division IEula (Clyde) 64, Tenaha 49
Forward Kainon Irons
dominated inside, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 rebounds for Eula (37-2). Class 1A Division IIPaducah 45, Bronte 30Andrew Hastings
scored 19 and Lonnie Hurd
added 10 points and 12 rebounds as Paducah (29-6) pulled away in the second half.