Written by Corbett Smith
Missed 3-pointer at buzzer gives No. 2 South Grand Prairie win over No. 1 DeSoto
GRAND PRAIRIE — It was a fitting that the third matchup between the state’s top two teams came down to a 3-pointer. DeSoto’s Takedrick Brown missed a 3 as time expired, as No. 2 South Grand Prairie defeated No. 1 DeSoto, 47-45.
“It all came down to practice and mental toughness,” South Grand Prairie guard Mark Howell said. “We knew we could answer.”
The win pulled South Grand Prairie (27-2, 8-1) into a tie atop the District 7-5A standings. South Grand Prairie’s only losses were to DeSoto (25-2, 8-1) — in the semifinals of the Arlington Classic and in the first round of district play.
The difference this time was defense; South Grand Prairie held DeSoto to five fourth-quarter points, after it had squandered a halftime lead. DeSoto started the third quarter on an 11-3 run, aided by six quick South Grand Prairie turnovers.
“We had too many empty possessions in the second,” said South Grand Prairie coach Brandon Bennett, who won his 100th game. “We need to get better on offense, but I feel like we have one of the best defensive teams around.”
While the matchup between two of the area’s top two players — Duke signee Matt Jones and Virginia Tech signee Ben Emelogu — was fascinating, it was the role players who made the difference.
DeSoto post Julius Green scored 14, keeping his team in the game in the first half when Jones was cold. While he finished with 13 points, Jones was 2-of-12 from the field. Brown was key in DeSoto’s third-quarter run, scoring 10 points in the period.
Emelogu, who scored 15, made a key 3-pointer during SGP’s 12-0, fourth-quarter run. But it was Howell who pushed South Grand Prairie over the top, scoring five straight points with less than four minutes remaining.
With DeSoto up by one point with less than a minute left, South Grand Prairie guard Trey Hall came up with a crucial steal, stripping the ball and saving it from going out of bounds. Dante James retrieved the ball, was fouled and made both free throws with 45.5 seconds remaining to give South Grand Prairie the lead.
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN