Written by Matt Wixon
Kimball star guard Frazier battered but ready to lead team to three-peat
AUSTIN — Kimball guard Keith Frazier said he didn’t feel well in the days leading up to the state tournament. The star senior had a stomach virus he described as “kind of like the flu, but not really the flu.”
At the start of Thursday’s semifinal, some might’ve thought the 6-6 sharpshooter still wasn’t feeling well as he passed up shots in the first quarter. But the McDonald’s All-American said he was just trying to get his teammates involved.
“They play a big part,” Frazier said after Kimball beat San Antonio Brennan, 64-52. “I trusted my teammates, and they stepped up.”
Now Kimball (23-9) has stepped into a position that has become very familiar. The Knights can earn a third straight 4A title with a win over Rosenberg Terry (30-9) in Saturday’s 3 p.m. championship game.
“We turn it loose in the playoffs,” Kimball coach Royce “Snoop” Johnson said. “Some teams tighten up in the playoffs. We won’t.”
Kimball won’t tighten up in the playoffs, and opponents can’t seem to cover Frazier tightly enough. He spent most of the first half Thursday setting up teammates such as guard Gabe Lilly (18 points) and forward Trent Brinkley (12 points). Frazier didn’t score until late in the second quarter, but he still finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
“Keith trusts his team,” Johnson said. “When he believes in them, they respond.”
Frazier, one of the nation’s top unsigned recruits, has range well beyond the 3-point line and also can score on step-back jumpers and slashing moves to the hoop. In last weekend’s regional final, his spinning scoop shot in the final minute gave Kimball the lead for good.
That came after Frazier was elbowed in the face and left the game for more than a quarter. He got hit in the jaw Thursday and sat out briefly, but afterward, he said he felt fine and was looking forward to finishing the season with another title.
The season started with four losses, and for the second straight year, Kimball finished second in its district. But No. 1 in the state is one win away.
“Our team came together in the playoffs,” Frazier said, “and turned it around.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.