GARLAND — It was Keith Frazier’s “Willis Reed” moment. But — perhaps fitting with Dallas Kimball’s tumultuous year — it was tinged with a little controversy.
Coming back from an elbow to his face that bloodied his mouth, dislodged one of his teeth and sidelined him for nearly 11 minutes of game time, Frazier was the spark in the closing minutes of Kimball’s 54-52 win over Arlington Seguin — propelling the two-time defending 4A champs back to the state tournament.
After Frazier was checked and rechecked by trainers to see if he had a concussion, the McDonald’s All-American re-entered the game with his team trailing by three, with less than three minutes remaining.
“I told him ‘I might need three plays, but it doesn’t have to be you,’ ” Kimball coach Snoop Johnson said. “ ‘Just create something.’ ”
Frazier made a beautiful assist to Trent Brinkley to draw Kimball (22-9) within a point with 1:50 left in the game. Then, after being subbed out and back in to avoid playing defense, Frazier made a spectacular spinning scoop shot with 30 seconds remaining in the game, giving the Knights their first lead since his departure with 3:42 left in the third quarter. With Frazier out, Seguin (33-5) had gone on a 10-4 run to finish the third quarter, grabbing the lead.
“Amazing; clutch,” Brinkley said about the shot.
Seguin’s Brandon Parrish missed a 3-pointer on the next possession. Brinkley rebounded and passed quickly to Gabe Lilly, who was fouled. Lilly made 1 of 2 free throws, leaving Parrish a last-gasp effort, a 3-pointer that glanced off the front of the rim as time expired.
The question after the game was whether Frazier, one of the nation’s most heralded recruits, should have been allowed back in the game.
He appeared listless on the bench after returning back into the Curtis Culwell Center arena, occasionally rubbing his face and head and shaking his head, as if to clear the haze. Johnson said he had the trainers recheck Frazier before putting him back into the game, after seeing him on the bench.
“I wasn’t going to put a game ahead ... of a kid with a bright future,” Johnson said.
NBA legend Reed of the New York Knicks suffered a torn thigh muscle in Game 5 of the 1970 Finals, but returned for the final game against the Los Angeles Lakers and helped lead the Knicks to their first championship.
Dallas ISD athletic trainer Brian Welch would not comment to reporters. At game’s end, Frazier left the court, but was called back for the trophy presentation.
As he walked up the tunnel, Frazier said, “I’m not going to let my team down, man. I’m a senior. I wasn’t going to let that happen.”
When asked what type of injury he sustained, he said, “I don’t remember. I don’t remember.”
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