Written by Matt Wixon
Kimball beats Amarillo, 52-37, to win third 4A state title in four years
With a minute left Saturday, Kimball's Jawun Evans threw a lob high above the rim and Trenton Brinkley finished with a one-handed slam. For Kimball, a team that often gravitates toward nailbiters at the state tournament, the drama of the Class 4A title game had ended.
And talk of the dynasty could begin.
Kimball's 52-37 victory over Amarillo earned it a third state championship during its four-year run of playing in the title game. The Knights are on a run that puts them in the conversation about the Dallas ISD's greatest dynasties of all time.
But Kimball's Royce "Snoop" Johnson didn't want to talk about it.
"We're the No. 1 4A team in 2014 in the state of Texas," he said.
There's no debating that. Kimball (25-7) used its speed and size to pull away in the second half against Amarillo (28-6), which had won 18 straight games. Brinkley, a senior forward, was named the game's MVP after scoring 15 points, grabbing six rebounds and making two steals.
"Knowing this is the last game of my high school career," Brinkley said, "I just had to be ready for it."
Kimball was ready early and jumped to a 9-0 lead before Amarillo scored 14 straight. But the Knights' defense clamped down after that, holding Amarillo to just 14 points in the second and third quarters combined.
"Kimball's really good and they took us out of a lot of things," Amarillo coach Jason Pillion said. "They're big and athletic."
The defense helped Kimball stretch its lead to 39-26 entering the fourth. Amarillo cut the lead to 43-37 with back-to-back 3-pointers in the final two minutes, but Evans hit a free throw and his alley-oop to Brinkley pushed the lead back to nine.
That started the celebration for Kimball and the basketball-proud Dallas ISD. Madison, coached by Snoop's brother Rod Johnson, won the 3A title earlier in the day to give the school district two boys state champs in the same year for the first time since 1997. Dallas ISD also had two winners on the court when Roosevelt (3A) and South Oak Cliff (4A) won in 2006. But SOC, which won four straight titles from 2005 to 2008, later forfeited two of the titles.
Even after the forfeits, SOC is one of the Dallas ISD's greatest dynasties since the turn of the century. So is Madison, which has won three state titles in the last six seasons.
And then there's Kimball, which hasn't won a district title since 2011 but always finds its stride in the playoffs. On Saturday, Kimball's stride was a confident one.
That's no surprise, of course, for a program that expects to play on the final day of the season.
"I'm just proud of these guys closing it out with class," Johnson said. "These guys played like they never wanted the bond to end."