SNYDER — Senior forward Justin Hemphill made three free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal Fort Worth Arlington Heights 46-40 victory over Amarillo in the Class 4A Region I semifinals Friday at Wester Texas College.
The Yellow Jackets (22-11) will make their third consecutive appearance in the regional championship at 2 p.m. today against Trophy Club Nelson (30-5).
Last year we came down here and lost because of free throws and I didnt want to see a repeat, said Hemphill, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Coach just told us to go out there and shoot with confidence, and thats all Ive been doing the whole playoffs.
Arlington Heights outscored Amarillo 32-6 in the paint and outrebounded them 40-26. The Yellow Jackets front court of 6-foot-8 Damontre McFarland (18 points, 17 rebounds), 6-5, 300-pound AShawn Robinson (10 points, six rebounds) and the 6-4 Hemphill overwhelmed the Sandies (21-12) for most of the game.
But Arlington Heights shot just 34.7 percent from the free throw line and Amarillo sunk five second-half 3-pointers to keep the game close. The lead changed hands four times in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter before a pair of baskets by Robinson and a dunk by McFarland gave the Yellow Jackets a four-point lead with four minutes remaining.
Arlington Heights played through Robinson for much of the second half, and he responded with eight points down the stretch.
John Hood led Amarillo with 12 points and four rebounds. Gabe Rodriguez added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Sandies, who were participating in their first regional tournament in 26 years.
That team has some great shooters and is probably the best shooting team weve played all year, Arlington Heights coach John Wagner said. They stretched our defense out more than its been all year, but our guys got some key baskets when we needed it and got some key stops like weve been doing all year long.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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