For all the jump shots, dunks and layups that got The Woodlands Christian to the TAPPS 4A state championship game – it was a defensive play that won the Warriors their first title since 2012.
Junior Zack Golaszewski drew a charge with 2.7 seconds left in double overtime and the Warriors hung on to beat Arlington Grace Prep 79-76 on Friday night at West High School.
“We switched our defense and did charge drill after charge drill over the summer,” The Woodlands Christian coach Tanner Field said. “For one of my smallest guys to take that against a future player in the SEC, it shows how much heart he has for this team.”
The SEC player Field was referring to was Grace Prep senior and Arkansas commit Jordan Phillips, who scored a game-high 34 points.
Phillips, who was named to the all-state team, tied the game up at 69-69 with 15 seconds left in the first overtime. The Warriors’ missed shot put another four minutes on the clock.
“I was proud that we fought,” Grace Prep coach Richie Alfred said. “We scratched until the end.”
The Lions, ranked No. 1 by Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, led 51-41 after a driving layup from sophomore Brandon Lawrence late in the third quarter.
The No. 3 Warriors (29-13) followed with a 17-7 run and tied it at 58-58 with sophomore Nash Golaszewski’s 3-pointer at the 3-minute mark in regulation. Sophomore Bakari LaStrap gave them a 60-58 lead on the ensuing possession with 1:57 to play.
Grace Prep (33-7) was able to force a first overtime after two clutch free throws by junior Myles McCrary with 0.6 seconds on the clock.
Phillips added eight rebounds for the Lions, who were in their first state final since 2015 and looking for their first title since 2012.
“It’s as simple as they made free throws down the stretch and we didn’t,” Alfred said. “I have a feeling if we make our free throws, the game probably doesn’t go into overtime.
“We’ve been ranked No. 1 all year long and we’re runner up in the state of Texas,” he added. “There’s nothing to hang our head on. It’s tough now, but I think they’ll look back on this and be very proud.”
Lawrence recorded 18 points, five boards and five assists. McCrary and senior Yafet Alefnew chipped in 10 apiece.
McCrary joined Phillips and Lawrence on the all-state team alongside senior Dawson Libonati, LaStrap and Emanuel Jones for the Warriors. Seniors Daniel Turner and Jordan Millspaugh made the team for Colleyville Covenant, which lost to Grace Prep in the semifinals on Thursday.