Kimball's quick start too much for Hillcrest boys, 82-70

Defending Class 4A state champion Kimball didn’t need any critical late-second free throws Tuesday night to decide its first-round playoff game against Hillcrest in a matchup of state-ranked teams.

Kimball played its best basketball to start the first and third quarters and cruised to an 82-70 victory at Skyline High School.

“I think once we got the lead, we felt like it was ours,” Kimball coach Royce Johnson said. “Our guys came out of the locker room like we wanted to defend the title.”

Kimball, ranked sixth in the state in 4A, held on for a 56-53 victory when these teams met in the Dallas ISD/Coca-Cola Tournament championship game in December. But Johnson said his team didn’t show their full hand defensively in that matchup.

Tuesday’s game saw Kimball race to a 12-2 lead to start the game and a 16-2 run to begin the second half, never allowing 11th-ranked Hillcrest to get closer than eight in the final quarter.

Shannon Lilly led Kimball (28-5) with a game-high 26 points, and Keith Frazier chipped in 14. Hillcrest (25-6) was led by Julius Foster’s 24 points.

Kimball advanced to face 12th-ranked Highland Park.

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