Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Berkner boys pull away from Rockwall with OT free throws
Rams keep season alive in Class 5A Region II game full of big plays
ALLEN – Richardson Berkner needed overtime to keep its season alive, surviving against a tough Rockwall squad for a 66-59 win in a Class 5A Region II area playoff game Friday night.
Berkner (23-7) used solid free throw shooting in overtime to win, hitting on 12-of-18 shots from the charity stripe to finally pull away.
“This was just a great high school basketball game,” said Richardson Berkner coach Jason Petty. “Our guys came up with the big plays when we had to have them, both from the foul line and on defense.”
Rockwall (18-12) tied the contest at 52-52 with a 3-pointer with three seconds to play, as Austin Grandstaff faked out a pair of defenders before hitting the tying shot.
Grandstaff, who finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, was coming off a 45-point effort in a playoff win against Sachse and a 51-point night against Wilmer Hutchins.
In the overtime, Berkner reeled off six quick points for a 57-51 lead and stayed in front thanks to several free throws from Keenan Evans.
Evans, a Texas Tech signee, had eight free throws in overtime and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Rockwall got back to within four at 61-57 on a 3-pointer by Grandstaff but got no closer, and Berkner pulled away in the final minute.
“The kids from Rockwall played an outstanding ballgame,” Petty said. “We knew this was going to be a tough ballgame from the start.”
The game featured big performances, including 11 3-pointers from Rockwall as well as a double-double from Berkner’s Robert Johnson II. Johnson finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds, with teammates Torey Everett (15 points) and Josh Francis (14 points) also scoring in double figures.
Rockwall’s John Tully (14 points) and Grandstaff both hit 4 3-pointers, with Skyler Simmons adding 11 points and three 3-pointers.