Kimball pulls off dramatic state final win over Yates
March 11, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - Dallas
By David McNabb
AUSTIN -- Kimball and Houston Yates account for the last four Class 4A state titles. With a dramatic 3-pointer from junior Torrey Henry with 7.1 seconds remaining, Kimball has the last two after a 78-75 victory on Saturday afternoon before 9,957 at the Frank Erwin Center.
Henry drained a spot-up, 21-footer to give Kimball a 76-75 lead with 7.1 seconds remaining. Kimball senior guard Shannon Lilly hit two free throws to give Kimball a three-point margin and Yates senior Damyean Dotson had a solid attempt with a corner 3-pointer as time expired which bounced off the back of the rim.
Kimball (34-5) won its second-consecutive state title after Yates had won in 2009 and 2010. Yates defeated Kimball in the ’09 final.
Kimball’s victory also goes down as one of the most dramatic at the storied UIL state tournament. The Knights trailed by five points with 44 seconds left. Essentially Kimball’s seventh man, Henry hit two of three, 3-pointers in the final 1:43 seconds.
Lilly hit a 3-pointer to pull within 72-70 and Henry hit his first 3-pointer to make it 75-73 with 29 seconds left. Kimball’s Darian Hancock passed to Henry for his go-ahead 3-pointer standing right in front of the Kimball bench.
“When we got the ball inbounds I ran as fast as I could back to the corner,” Henry said. “Darian threw it to me and I was thinking three all the way. And just let it go.”
Kimball won back-to-back titles for the first time since 1996 and 1997 when the Knights were under then 52-year-old Goree Johnson, now the Dallas ISD’s athletic department chief of basketball. Now, Goree’s 39-year-old son, Royce “Snoop” Johnson has back-to-back titles and a long history with the Kimball program. Royce was part of a Kimball state title as a player and two more as an assistant. The late Jimmy Tubbs (who became coach at SMU) coached Kimball to the 1990 state title.
Kimball lost eight seniors from last year’s state title and finished second to South Oak Cliff in District 11-4A. But the Knights have gotten stronger through the playoffs with a six-game winning streak over highly rated Hillcrest, Highland Park, Woodrow Wilson, Manor, SOC and San Antonio Alamo Heights.
“I don’t think so much about the back-to-back because the teams are so different,” Snoop Johnson said. “But Kimball is a program that is relevant every year. And we’ve had a bunch of young guys come in and do that for themselves this year.”
Yates (33-6) seemed very close to winning its third title in four years. Yates and Kimball used their defenses to force a combined 48 turnovers. Yates got the bulk of its offense from Oregon signee Dotson, who had a team-high 23 points. Yates’ other major college prospect, 6-7 senior Clyde Santee, struggled through 1 of 16 from the field.
Kimball survived with its duo of Lilly and 6-4 guard Keith Frazier. Lilly repeated as back-to-back MVP for state final games. Lilly scored 27 points for the Knights including 5 of 8 from three-point range. The 6-0 Lilly, though, still is not receiving NCAA Division I offers. Frazier, one of the state’s top prospects for the Class of 2013, had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
It was Torrey, though, who hit the game-winner with seven seconds left. And even with all of Kimball’s success, the Knights’ still have a state tournament heartache in their history when San Antonio Jay hit a half-court shot at the buzzer for a 54-53 victory over Kimball in the 2002 final.
“Everyone asked me last year if that made up for 2002 and I lied and said it did,” Snoop Johnson said. “But this year, I can say this really does get me over it.”