Written by Matt Wixon
Offense stalls, South Grand Prairie falls to Fort Bend Travis in 5A boys basketball state championship game
AUSTIN — South Grand Prairie won the battle of the boards and slowed down Fort Bend Travis’ twin McDonald’s All-American guards, Andrew and Aaron Harrison. But as SGP tried to win its first state title, the one thing it couldn’t do was lethal:
It couldn’t make enough shots.
South Grand Prairie made only 27 percent as it fell to Fort Bend Travis, 46-38, in the Class 5A title game Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.
“At the beginning of the game, if you asked me if we could play defense like that, I would take it,” SGP coach Brandon Bennett said. “We just couldn’t score the basketball.”
Ben Emelogu hit a 3-pointer and was fouled with 1:22 left, and his free throw cut Travis’ lead to 39-36. But Travis (33-5) sank enough free throws in the final minute to hold off SGP (37-4).
Andrew Harrison was named MVP after finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds. Aaron Harrison had eight points and seven rebounds, but made only 3 of 16 shots. Emelogu led South Grand Prairie with 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
The game was played at a sluggish pace established by Travis, which shot only 38 percent from the field (12 of 32). Travis got to the free throw line repeatedly, however, and made 19 of 27.
SGP made all of its free throws, but there were only six attempts. It made only 13 of 49 field goals and 6 of 26 3-pointers.
“We talked long and hard about attacking the basket and getting easy baskets,” Bennett said. “But when we got to the paint, we didn’t score.”
The teams combined to make only 4 of 26 field goals in the first quarter, and they didn’t make any during a stretch of seven minutes in the first half. The offense finally broke through in the second quarter, but neither team could break away on the scoreboard as the lead seesawed eight times.
SGP’s cold shooting continued in the third quarter, allowing Travis to get some separation with a 9-2 run finished by back-to-back layups by the Harrisons, first Aaron and then Andrew. A 3-pointer by Dante James cut Travis’ lead to 31-29 in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but Travis scored the next six points.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” Bennett said. “At the beginning of the season, we set the goal to get to Austin. I don’t think people thought that this particular group would do the things they’ve done.”
It was South Grand Prairie’s first trip to state since 1975, when it lost in the 3A final.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.