Written by Matt Wixon
Kimball outmuscled in 4A boys basketball title game after Rosenberg Terry standout Derrick Griffin goes into 'beast mode'
AUSTIN – Three minutes into the second quarter Saturday, Kimball’s lead ballooned to 16 points and Rosenberg Terry had only scored one field goal in the last six minutes. After battling through an up-and-down season to earn a shot at its third-straight Class 4A title, it couldn’t be this easy for Kimball.
It wasn’t. And after the game took a hairpin turn, it was hard to take for the two-time defending champs.
Terry, which didn’t take its first lead until late in the third quarter, was the stronger team when it mattered in a 55-47 victory in front of 11,241 at the Frank Erwin Center.
“Rosenberg Terry showed why they were here,” Kimball coach Royce “Snoop” Johnson said. “That’s basically what happened.”
What happened was Terry’s 6-6 power forward, Derrick Griffin, gave an MVP performance with 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. And perhaps Kimball got complacent with the big lead.
“We might’ve lost that thing that we’ve been playing off of this year,” Johnson said. “I always told the kids that we play best when we fear losing.”
Kimball (23-10) had nothing to fear after it took a 23-7 lead three minutes into the second quarter. But Terry (31-9) cut the lead to eight by halftime and kept rolling in the third quarter as Kimball starting forwards D’Angelo Allen and Trent Brinkley sat on the bench with four fouls.
Kimball scored just 10 points – all by Keith Frazier, who finished with 24 -- during a stretch of nearly 13 minutes in the second and third quarters. Terry scored 30 during that span, turning the 16-point deficit into a 37-33 late in the third quarter.
Kimball pulled it together in the fourth, scoring six straight points to take a 47-42 lead on a basket by Brinkley, who finished with 10 points. But there was still 3:40 left in the game, and the Knights didn’t score again. Terry scored the game’s final 13 points to earn its first state title.
The play that probably clinched the game, and also seemed to summarize it, came with one minute left and Terry’s Eugene Wright at the free-throw line. After making the first to give Terry a 50-47 lead, the second rimmed out. Griffin, a star receiver in football who signed with Miami, outmuscled Brinkley for the rebound. He banked in a shot to give Terry a five-point lead.
It was the fifth offensive rebound of the game for Griffin, who said the coaches told him before the game to be a beast in the paint.
“That’s what I had in my mind the whole time,” Griffin said. “Just go into ‘Beast Mode.’”
Kimball was the 4A beast the last two seasons, but it didn’t have the answer in crunch time. In the final three minutes, Kimball missed four shots and turned the ball over three times.
“I think we came out and we had a little too much emotion,” Johnson said, “and it drained us.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.