Fort Worth Arlington Heights’ playoff run to the UIL Class 4A state tournament is fueled by a perceived lack of respect.
Several Yellow Jackets made that much clear last week in Snyder, shortly after cutting down the nets in celebration of a second Class 4A Region I championship in three seasons.
“What really motivated us is everybody saying that we would never go back, never make it to state,” senior center Damontre McFarland said. “We’ve overcome the odds in every game.”
The Yellow Jackets (23-11), who finished third in District 7-4A, defeated three district champions and avenged regular-season losses to a pair of playoff opponents en route to a state tournament berth.
Arlington Heights lost to 7-4A champion Fort Worth Trimble Tech twice in the regular season, but the Jackets sent the Bulldogs home on a last-second shot by McFarland in the regional quarterfinals.
The Yellow Jackets lost by double-digits to Trophy Club Nelson in November, yet ended the Bobcats’ season Saturday in the regional final.
“We wanted to get something done that people didn’t think we could do. Our whole thing is to prove people wrong,” senior forward A’Shawn Robinson said. “I don’t care what people say, we are going to do what we are going to do. People can doubt us; we’re going to prove them wrong.”
Arlington Heights meets Rosenberg Terry (29-9) in the state semifinals 7 p.m. Thursday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.
Tickets can be purchased on campus at 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesday for $10 apiece. Tickets at the box office on Thursday will cost $12.
Brock (31-6) is one of three schools returning to the Class 2A state tournament for a second straight season.
Idalou (34-3), the Eagles’ semifinal opponent at 10 a.m. Friday at the Frank Erwin Center, lost in the semifinals last year. White Oak (35-1), the 2012 champion, returns to Austin to defend its title, starting with Winnie East Chambers (26-9) at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
“It never gets old getting to do this, that’s for sure and each team is unique, each team is different,” said Brock coach Jeff Bell, who is taking the Eagles to state for the fourth time in 12 seasons and won titles in 2003 and 2004. “It’s a very special situation that we’re involved in and we’re looking forward to going and trying to win a state championship for our school.”
South Grand Prairie’s brand of basketball may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
Saturday’s 35-33 comeback victory over Hebron in the Class 5A Region I championship has the Warriors (36-3) headed to state for the first time since 1975, where they will face Cibolo Steele (25-12) at 3 p.m. Friday in Austin.
South Grand Prairie has failed to score 40 points in two playoff games and didn’t top 50 in two others, yet keeps winning due to a defense that is allowing just 35.6 points a game in the postseason.
Two-time defending Class 4A state champ Dallas Kimball (22-9) will make its fourth appearance at the state tournament in five seasons when it faces San Antonio Brennan (39-2) in the state semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Austin.
In addition to their two most recent Class 4A titles, the Knights won three 5A titles in the 1990’s (1990, 1996-97) and are headed to state for a 10th time overall.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
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