MANSFIELD — Arlington Martin guard Nick Babb did what he usually does late in games: he gave his team a one-point lead in the waning seconds of regulation.
Problem was, it left plenty of time for Richland guard Hayden Hunter to do the same thing.
Hunter’s coast-to-coast driving layup at the buzzer propelled District 4-5A fourth-place qualifier Richland to an upset of District 3-5A champion Martin 65-64 in a bi-district playoff Monday night at Mansfield High School.
The Rebels (19-10) move on to face the winner of Lubbock Coronado and El Paso Montwood later this week.
“I got the ball and knew the time was going out; my big man Tim Priller set a good screen, side lane was open and I didn’t think about anything, just put it up,” Hunter said.
After Hayden’s layup, officials huddled to determine if time remained and gave Martin 0.1 seconds on the clock after the Warriors called timeout.
That final possession had no bearing as Richland finally cracked through the bi-district wall. The Rebels had been shown the postseason exit door in that round the past two seasons.
Martin (20-8) built as much as an 11-point lead and seemed to have things under control in the final minutes.
But a furious Richland rally produced a 19-8 run that brought the Rebels back from the brink.
Hunter finished with a game-high 29 points, and Priller chipped in 18 points for Richland.
Babb scored 24 to lead Martin, and Josh Swearingin had 11. Patrick Burke added 10 for the Warriors.
“Our team did a great job, and our coaching staff really got us prepared,” Hunter said. “When we got down by 10 late, we just talked on the bench about getting it together; we knew it wasn’t over.”
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