Written by Corbett Smith
Avery Air Invitational: Guard's resurgence leads McKinney into final (Day 2)
PLANO - McKinney guard Hunter Edwards said he'd been in a bit of a slump. He had sprained his wrist a few months ago, and had been playing with it taped over the past few weeks.
He pulled the tape off at the start of the Avery Air Invitational, and it's done wonders. Edwards scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in a second-quarter barrage as McKinney dumped Jesuit, 76-71, in the semifinals Tuesday.
"It seems to be working for me," Edwards said.
Edwards has scored 78 points in three games and heads into the final against Plano averaging 26 per game in the tournament.
"We know at any moment that he can come out and score in bunches," McKinney coach Wes Watson said.
Because of the 14-team tournament format, Jesuit (7-11) came into the semifinals after a second-round bye, not playing a morning game.
Jesuit had won the Plano holiday tournament in back-to-back seasons.
McKinney (13-6) played earlier in the day, tipping off against Mesquite at 11 a.m.
The extra game didn't seem to affect McKinney's effort, although it was dominated on the boards, allowing Jesuit 18 more field-goal attempts. Jesuit's post pair of David Lacey and Steven Spieth combined for 33 points.
"They pulverized us inside," Watson said. "We knew going into the year that we shot the ball pretty well and we handled the ball pretty well. ... But we've got to get defensive stops in order for us to create those offensive opportunities."
While Jesuit dominated in attempts, McKinney's defense held Jesuit to 38.6 percent shooting (27 of 70). It also forced turnovers.
Jesuit had 19 first-half turnovers, as McKinney jumped to a 39-27 lead.
"That's outstanding, because Jesuit, historically, has done a great job valuing the basketball," Watson said. "For us to turn them over like that is pretty big."
In the second half, Jesuit fought back, going on a 10-3 run midway through the third quarter to pull within 49-47. Jesuit took the lead, 56-55, with 7:09 left in the fourth on a basket by Lacey. It was Jesuit's first lead since late in the first quarter.
McKinney held Jesuit scoreless from the field for 4:43 of the fourth quarter after tying the score, 59-59.
Plano wins a nailbiter: Plano pulled away from Highland Park in the closing seconds to win the second semifinal, 51-48.
Clayton Parlin, son of Plano coach Phil Parlin, drove hard to the basket, colliding with Highland Park's Chase Fletcher with 2.5 seconds remaining. Fletcher was called for the block, and Parlin put Plano ahead on the first free throw.
He missed the second, but the ball was rebounded by Plano's Julian Okoro, who was fouled with less than a second remaining. Okoro made both free throws, and Highland Park missed a desperate attempt as time expired.