Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Plano East boys basketball's powerful trio combines for 60 points to top Richardson in 5A Region II quarterfinal
PLANO — Plano East’s Big 3 proved big once again as seniors Pat Birt, Jarvis Pugh and Marcus Mathieu combined for 60 points in a 74-66 victory over Richardson in a Class 5A Region II quarterfinal Tuesday before a standing room only crowd of more than 1,500 at Plano Senior High School.
East (30-5) advances to its first regional in five years against Austin Anderson (30-6) at 6 p.m. Friday at Waco Midway. Richardson (25-11) reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
East needed an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter to pull out of a 50-50 tie. Birt had a three-point play and acrobatic one-handed follow shot, Mathieu and Trey Patterson each hit 3-pointers and Zach Smith had a breakaway dunk to highlight the run.
Birt ended with a game-high 22 points and was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” afterward for turning 18.
“We had to pick up the pace, we knew they would be a third-round playoff team and we’d have to play our best,” Birt said. “I didn’t want any presents. Just this win.”
Pugh finished with 20 points and Mathieu with 18, including four 3-pointers. Richardson was a surprising No. 3 finisher in District 9-5A and its speedy guard combination of senior Brandon Scott (19 points) and junior Nylan Yancy combined for 33 points.
“We had one of the best teams in the state on the ropes in the fourth quarter,” fourth-year Richardson coach Justin Reese said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them than after any other game.
“This is a special group. I told them they have changed the culture of Richardson basketball with their work and their character.”
East kept the lead in the final two minutes as Birt and Pugh hit seven of eight free throws. East’s final margin was its biggest lead. Richardson had a four-point lead early in the third quarter. It was tied, 34-34, at halftime and 50-50 heading into the fourth quarter.
Richardson wasn’t able to get closer than 69-64 with a basket on a Moore drive and free throw with 40 seconds left.
“We had to come up with some offensive rebounds, [and] hitting the offensive glass isn’t the most natural thing to do,” East coach Jeff Clarkson said. “But Jarvis had a couple big putbacks. ... [Richardson] has shown they can win the close games, and we didn’t want to give them that chance.”