Written by Corbett Smith
Triple A Academy wins boys basketball state title, but Mumford coach says, 'We're still public-school champions'
AUSTIN — The sense of inevitably wasn’t misplaced. The air of invincibility was never challenged.
Triple A Academy was as good as advertised, and it showed in the Class A Division I state final Saturday.
Preordained as the eventual champion when it joined the UIL this season, the charter school rolled to an 80-54 win over Mumford. Triple A (28-5) became the first boys charter school program to win a UIL team title, and it did so in dominating fashion. The 26-point margin of victory in the final was the closest any Class A team got to the southern Dallas school.
“We definitely didn’t want to underestimate our opponent, but coming out and getting a win like that over teams that have kind of been talking mess all year, and seeing all the articles on how it’s going to be a good game, I think we made a statement going out there and beating them by 26,” junior guard Jeremiah Jefferson said.
Jefferson was named the game’s MVP, with 29 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. He scored 66 points in two games in Austin, making 27-of-58 shots from the field.
Triple A fell behind in the first quarter, triggered when starting point guard Tyler Singleton picked up his second foul with 4:44 remaining in the period. He left the game for nearly three minutes, during which Mumford (39-1) went on a 10-4 run to take the lead.
“When he picked up those two fouls, we had to change a lot of things that we do,” coach Tim Singleton said.
With Tyler Singleton back in the lineup, Triple A righted its course, regaining the lead midway through the second quarter with a combination of pressure and second-chance points. In fitting with Tim Singleton’s game plan, Triple A had 23 offensive rebounds and 26 more shot attempts than Mumford.
“Our team, that’s our speciality; we’re good at those areas, forcing turnovers and playing really, really good defense,” junior forward Gary Breaux said.
With a roster gleaned from across southern Dallas, Triple A might have one of the most talented rosters ever for a small school at the UIL state tournament. But it might also be one of the most reviled.
During the awards presentation at halftime of the following game, the rank-and-file of the UIL that fill the lower bowl of the Frank Erwin Center made its feelings known — giving Mumford a standing ovation when it was awarded its runner-up trophy. Those same spectators stood largely silent when Triple A received the winners trophy, with a small chorus of boos coming from around the arena.
While complimentary about Triple A’s players and team, Mumford coach Chris Sodek didn’t pull back in a post-game news conference when asked his thoughts about Triple A’s inclusion in the UIL.
“We’re still public school champions,” he said.
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN.