Written by Corbett Smith
Beren Academy, team that fought for right to play, falls short in TAPPS 2A championship game
FORT WORTH — All they had wanted was a chance.
But in the waning seconds of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ Class 2A boys basketball final Saturday, it was evident that the players from Houston’s Beren Academy wanted a little more than that.
They wanted the title.
Their crestfallen faces after a postgame huddle showed that truth.
Abilene Christian forward Daniel Austin scored all 14 of his points in the second half, including two game-clinching free throws with 9.3 seconds left, as his team held on for a 46-42 win and the state championship.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” Beren Academy coach Chris Cole said. “I am obviously tore up they are feeling the way they are feeling. I don’t think they understand what they’ve accomplished and what they’ve really been through. We haven’t had time to let that settle in. But we made it all the way to the state finals, and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.”
Beren Academy (24-6) was twice denied by the TAPPS executive board to change the start time of its semifinal game — requested since it conflicted with the Jewish Sabbath. Beren Academy, a Modern Orthodox day school, needed the threat of a temporary restraining order brought by three of its players and their parents for TAPPS to acquiesce.
Once cleared to play, Beren Academy defeated Covenant in Saturday afternoon’s semifinal.
But Beren Academy fell behind by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter. Austin made his fifth straight mid-range jumper at the open of the period, giving Abilene Christian (25-5) a 35-23 lead.
But Beren Academy battled back, making nine of 11 free throws to cut the lead to three points.
Abilene Christian made five of its final six free throws to maintain the lead in the final minute.