MANSFIELD — For three quarters, it looked as if the Fort Worth Nolan Catholic boys basketball team might be run out of the gym in their TAPPS Class 5A state championship game Saturday.
A ferocious fourth-quarter comeback forced overtime, however, before Plano Prestonwood Christian finally put the Vikings away 71-66 at Legacy High School.
Prestonwood (15-19) led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter and was up by 12 entering the fourth quarter. But Nolan (32-5) stepped up its defensive pressure, and streak shooting cut the lead to 48-46 midway through the fourth.
Gabriel Gumm, who hit a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, nailed one of them with 13 seconds left to cut the deficit to 56-55. Then Prestonwood standout Julius Randle made a free throw for a 57-55 Lions lead. Landon Russell banked in a driving layup at the buzzer for Nolan to force overtime.
We knew it was going to be tough initially and that we would get better as the game went on, Nolan coach Steve Prudhomme said. We knew every quarter was going to be a better quarter for us.
After Randle scored first in the overtime period, Russell hit a 3-pointer for a 60-59 Nolan lead, their first since 4-3 early in regulation . With less than a minute remaining in overtime, Michael Hoffman scored to pull Nolan within 66-65, but Prestonwood hit 5 of 6 free throws , including four by Randle, to help seal the victory.
Hoffman, who had 14 points, was charged with handling Randle most of the night.
We put all our heart into this game, Hoffman said. Great players make great plays and [Randle] definitely made great plays.
I think Hoffman really played at a high level, Prudhomme said. He was able to hold down the fort enough times tonight to give us a chance to win this game several times.
Russell led Nolan with 20 points, while Gumm and Michael Sarrat each added 13.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Nolan players spoke highly of one another and their season after the game.
Unfortunately, we just couldnt get it done, Gumm said. Im proud of these guys, I wouldnt trade them for anything.
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