As both defenses locked down early in Friday’s 5A Region I semifinal between North Crowley and Hebron, each possession became more valuable each trip down the court.
With possessions at a premium, turnovers ultimately doomed North Crowley in Hebron’s 55-37 victory at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
North Crowley led 11-7 after a quarter, but Hebron pulled ahead for a 19-15 lead at halftime. Nine North Crowley turnovers in the first half allowed Hebron (36-2) to string together fast break-and-1 baskets in the second quarter and rally in the first quarter to lead at halftime.
Six more North Crowley turnovers in the second half were part of Hebron’s 10-3 run to open the second half. Hebron took a lead it wouldn’t surrender the remainder of the game.
North Crowley (29-8) saw most of its shots after halftime rim out, reducing the chances of a rally of its own.
“We shoot a lot of threes,” North Crowley coach Tommy Brakel said. “I guess you could say teams that live by the three die by the three. I don’t know if it was shot selection as much as shots just not dropping.”
North Crowley’s lone offensive force was junior guard Caleb Banks, who finished several acrobatic layups while drawing a foul. Banks also scored the highlight-reel points of the game, swishing a buzzer-beating 3 at the end of the third quarter while falling backward away from two Hebron defenders as a part of his team-high 13 points.
North Crowley was able to drill five 3-pointers in the game, backing up it’s “live and die by the three” mentality and shooting 37 percent from behind the arc. Outside of 3-point shooting and making 8 of 15 free throws, North Crowley scored 10 points off field goals in the game and scored two non-3 point field goals in the first half.
Hebron’s Jeff Hicks stole the show, finishing with a game-high 20 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter.
Hebron will face South Grand Prairie today at Wilkerson-Greines at 1 p.m. for the 5A Region I championship and a berth in next week’s 5A state tournament in Austin.
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