Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Kimball's Torrey Henry makes most of 'moment I've always waited for' with game-winning shot
Dream comes true for junior guard, Kimball in dramatic comeback
AUSTIN — After three tense quarters Saturday afternoon, it was time for someone to emerge for Kimball. If the Knights were going to repeat as Class 4A state champions, coach Royse Johnson told his players, “somebody’s going to need to hit a big shot.”
Torrey Henry became that somebody. The junior guard nailed two 3-pointers in the final 25 seconds to help Kimball beat Houston Yates, 78-75, in a stunning last-minute reversal.
“It was the moment I’ve always waited for,” Henry said. “It was what I’ve always prayed for.”
With less than a minute left and Yates leading by five, Kimball (34-5) looked like it might need divine intervention in front of 9,957 at the Frank Erwin Center. But then Henry made a steal, and after a Kimball timeout, he nailed his first 3-pointer of the game to pull Kimball within 75-73 with 29 seconds left.
Kimball sent Yates to the free throw line, and Damyean Dotson missed the front end of a one-and-one. Kimball turned the ball over before getting a shot off, but Yates’ Darrion Martin missed his first free throw, and Kimball’s Keith Frazier rebounded with 15 seconds left. He quickly threw the ball upcourt to Darian Hancock, who found Henry in the right corner, spotting up in front of the Kimball bench.
“I told him to drive,” Johnson said.
It made sense. Kimball only needed two points to tie, and Henry had a defender coming at him. But Henry let it fly, and when the ball dropped through the net with 12 seconds left, the crowd boomed in response.
“I’ve never felt that before,” Henry said.
Yates (33-6) tried to answer with a long pass to Chris Wells, but Kimball forward Sheldon Yearwood raced downcourt to defend, and Wells couldn’t hold on to the ball before it went out of bounds.
Kimball guard Shannon Lilly then hit a pair of free throws to give the Knights a three-point lead with six seconds left, and Dotson missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
Lilly, who scored 27 points and nailed five of eight 3-point attempts, was named the title game MVP for the second straight year. He was Kimball’s rock in the backcourt, but the Knights needed a team effort to keep from cracking in the long-awaited matchup with Yates.
Yates, which won the 4A title in 2009 and ’10, breaks teams’ backs with huge 10- or 15-point runs. It did that against Kimball in the state semifinals three years ago but wasn’t able to do it Saturday.
“Yates feeds off runs,” Johnson said. “I told the kids that I would use my timeouts wisely, but I also told them that the best way to freeze a run is to make a play.”
Kimball made lots of plays, from the little guys who helped break the press to the big guys such as Frazier (14 rebounds) and Hancock (12 rebounds) who helped Kimball outrebound Yates. Added up, all the plays gave Kimball a shot to win in the final minute.
And then Henry made the shot that will be remembered for years.
“He locked in,” Johnson said. “When he let it go, I felt good because he didn’t hesitate.”