Geographically, Brock is about 250 miles from San Antonio. However, as often as the Eagles and Lady Eagles play basketball games there, one would think it is a suburb of the Alamo City.
For a ninth consecutive season Brock had a team competing at the University Interscholastic League State Tournament. The Eagles (30-9) finished as Class 3A runners-up, falling 42-36 to another perennial power, Dallas Madison in the final.
It was the Eagles' 10th time in team history to reach state and their eighth time to play in the championship game. They won Class 2A titles in 2002 and 2003, along with a 3A title in 2015.
This was the Eagles' fourth state championship game appearance in six seasons. They were runners-up in 2012 and 2013.
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"You just have that in your mind starting each season," senior Taylor Perry said of the state tournament or bust mindset in Brock. "It's bragging rights, getting to make that state tournament bus."
Between them, the Brock boys and girls basketball teams have made it to state in Austin and San Antonio 24 times, played in 22 title games and have a dozen championships.
"It's hard to believe a school can be that talented in all sports," said senior Matthew Thornton, who moved to Brock from their chief rival, Peaster. "As soon as I moved to Brock I knew I was here to win a state championship. I had to become one of them."
Thornton was also referencing that Brock has won state championships in a variety of sports, including football, volleyball, baseball, softball, team tennis and golf.
While Thornton and his team came up a game short this season, he and Perry were reserves on the 2015 boys state basketball champions.
"It's a crazy feeling. It's tough to get here once, much less twice," Perry said.
No one in Brock will say it's easy to reach state, but it is expected. And that is something the players and coaches are fine with.
"I feel like the tradition plays a big part in our expectations," Eagles coach Zach Boxell said. "It's not only a dream, but a reality to get to the state tournament. They grow up seeing family and friends getting to state on a regular basis.
"The community is pushing them - in a good way - to do their best, and the kids know they are expected to do a lot. They like having those expectations of them."
Perry remembers being a youngster and watching the teams from Brock advance to state. He, like so many others, couldn't wait until it was his turn.
"It starts down there, in elementary and junior high. Winning is put in your head," he said.
"I think tradition is such an important part of our success here at Brock. Our high school students that have been in our district for several years have grown up watching other teams reach state in different sports and other extracurricular activities, and now they want to be a part of that success," said Superintendent Scott Drillette. "Actually, most of them expect to make it to the state level, so they are willing to put in the extra work to achieve that goal."
And, as if tradition wasn't enough, losing in bidistrict last season inspired the Eagles even more. They hadn't lost that early in the playoffs since 1999.
"It was something our kids took hard," Boxell said. "It fueled the fire for this season. We knew we had a lot of guys back, and that helped push them to get here."
The Eagles used that fire and a tough predistrict schedule to go into a higher gear when they entered District 7-3A. They went a perfect 12-0, followed by six playoff wins to carry an 18-game winning streak into the title game against Madison (28-8).
Among Brock's other losses this season, they fell to 4A state semifinalist Argyle (59-45), 4A regional finalist Seminole (58-53), 3A state semifinalist Jarrell (58-53), 5A regional semifinalist Dallas Highland Park (87-80), and 3A regional quarterfinalist Bowie (58-54).
To reach the state final, the Eagles got a measure of revenge against Jarrell, 46-43, in the semifinals. To make the Region I Tournament, they defeated Bowie, coached by Doug Boxell (Zach's dad), 58-55.
"I am very proud of our guys for the whole season," Boxell said. "We won some close games in the playoffs to get to this point, and our kids fought hard and put ourselves in a position to win today (against Madison)."
In the regional final they disposed of Canadian, 2A state champions the past two seasons, 40-36.
Among the state tournament highlights for the Eagles, Amery Hughes averaged 12 points and 4.5 rebounds in the two games and Hayden Waller averaged 10 rebounds. The Brock bench outscored Jarrell and Madison 17-3, and the Eagles had a 75-64 rebound advantage, including 25-18 on the offensive boards.
However, a third-quarter drought cost them against Madison, which was making its ninth state tournament appearance and won its third state championship. The Trojans outscored the Eagles 14-2 in that period.
Also, the Trojans finished the game 7-of-11 at the free throw line and Brock did not attempt a free throw.
"I told our kids not to hang their heads," Boxell said. "That's a credit to our kids, a credit to our fans and our program that they were still in the game late."
Despite going the first seven and half minutes of the second half without a point as Madison went on a 14-0 run, Brock rallied to within 40-36 with 22 seconds left in the game.
The Eagles lost just two starters, Thornton and Perry. Also, the Brock junior varsity boys were 19-2 this season and won district.
"We've got a good core group back, Peaster's got a lot coming back. Wall, Canadian, Bowie, they should all be strong again. It'll be a lot like this season again," Boxell said.
And that's okay with him - as long as they get one more victory.
"Yeah, that'd be perfect," he said with a smile. "We'd definitely love that."
Drillette noted that while reaching state is an expectation in Brock, it is never taken for granted. That, he said, contributes to the success.
"Even though we’ve been fortunate to enjoy a certain level of success over the years, I am proud of our students, teachers, parents and our community at large because they never take it for granted and they do a great job of celebrating every achievement," he said.
"Making it to the state level of competition in any activity is an outstanding accomplishment and having our boys basketball and tennis teams playing in the state tournaments this (past) weekend sets a new example for our elementary and junior high students to follow."
BROCK EAGLES 2016-17 RECAP
▪ Record: 30-9, 12-0 in District 7-3A, champions.
▪ Playoffs: State finals, lost 42-36 to Dallas Madison. Defeated Wichita Falls City View 73-56 in bidistrict, Colorado City 68-34 in area, Bowie 58-55 in regional quarterfinals, Wall 63-48 in regional semifinals, Canadian 40-36 in regional finals, and Jarrell 46-43 in state semifinals.
▪ Longest winning streak: 18.
▪ Longest losing streak: 3.
▪ Highest state rank: 5.
▪ Seniors: Taylor Perry, Matthew Thornton, Dalton Dickerson, Hayden Waller
▪ Underclassmen: Juniors Amery Hughes, Nolan Alexander, Garrett Leek, Wyatt Moore, and Jacob Rousse; sophomores Treston Hughes, Scott Thomas, Garrett Reynolds, Landon Hoffman, and Cooper Allen; freshman Ty Duggin.