Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Kimball shuts down LeBryan Nash, Lincoln to gain 4A state spot
GARLAND — LeBryan Nash sauntered through the tunnel and back to the locker room alone, removing his white Lincoln jersey as he walked. This was the end of his high school career.
A few feet away, in the middle of the court, Kimball celebrated its 51-42 victory. The players had good reason to cheer. They are headed to Austin.
They earned the trip by doing what few teams have the last four years. They slowed Nash.
“Our thing is, if we were going to beat this team today, we were going to do it defensively,” Kimball coach Royce “Snoop” Johnson said. “Bottom line.”
Kimball and Lincoln split two regular-season meetings, and Johnson said he didn’t mold a specific game plan for those meetings. He was too focused on his own guys. Not Saturday.
Johnson told his players to make the game as frantic as possible. The strategy started with Austin Franklin.
He went to middle school with Nash, trains with him, knows his nuances. He would pick up Nash, and then a big man, such as Jordan Williams, would join if a double team was needed.
As the game went on, the defender on Nash switched — from Franklin to Oscar Lewis to Williams to Jarion Henry. It was complicated, but it worked.
Lincoln had a 16-12 lead after the first quarter. Kimball allowed three field goals the next two quarters and took a double-digit lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Nash finished with 20 points but had only eight in the decisive first three quarters.
Kimball badly wanted this game. When it was over, Henry could finally admit the obvious. Twitter had been lighting up with trash talk for both sides beforehand, he said, and now it is Kimball that gets to do the talking.
Kimball slowed Nash and has plans for greater success at state.
“This is the final four,” Henry said. “We have to get it done.”