Mansfield Timberview just had to do what the Wolves had been doing for the previous 38 games of the season. Although it didn’t look that way in the first half of the Class 5A state title game on Saturday.
Trailing by as much as 12 points in the second quarter, Timberview rallied to beat Fort Bend Marshall 74-66 in the 5A final at the Alamodome for the school’s first UIL boys basketball state championship.
“Just means everything to us just for the simple fact that no one thought we’d be here, let alone win it,” senior guard Tim Johnson said. “We just proved everybody wrong, and it was a great experience.”
A 4-4 tie in the first quarter quickly turned into a growing deficit for Timberview. Marshall used a 17-5 run to go up 21-9 before leading by 12 points on five other occasions. The Buffalos led 37-27 at halftime.
“What I told them at halftime wasn’t all that worthwhile,” Timberview coach Duane Gregory said. “What they did after halftime sure was.”
The Wolves (32-7) scored 19 of the first 21 points in the third quarter and turned the 10-point halftime deficit to a 46-39 lead after junior guard Chris Mullins made two of his game-high 36 points with 2:31 in the frame.
We just proved everybody wrong, and it was a great experience.
Mansfield Timberview player Tim Johnson
“I told them the table is going to turn and turn fast, and they’re not going to know what hit them” Gregory said.
Mullins, who had 24 points in the second half, made 4 of 5 layups for the Wolves during the run. He added two more baskets for a 55-43 lead with 6:11 to play.
“I didn’t care how many I scored, I was just trying to win,” said Mullins, who was voted MVP. “I didn’t care if I scored two points, I just wanted to be a state champion.”
Timberview steadily owned a sizable lead for the next few minutes. Every time the Buffalos scored, the Wolves had an answer, but Marshall wouldn’t go away.
The Buffalos (32-8), making their first state tournament appearance, trailed 64-51 with 3:46 remaining. A 3-pointer by Tajzmel Sherman and two baskets from Jabari Rice made it 66-60 with 2:13 left.
They didn’t have to do anything mind blowing and spectacular — just do what you do and the reporters will talk about the comeback.
Timberview coach Duane Gregory, on his players overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit
Johnson got in for a layup, but Marshall pulled within 68-63 on a 3-pointer from Dakota Thompson. Rice would make it a four-point game with a minute left, but Mullins made his free throws and the Buffalos missed three 3-point attempts.
“They didn’t have to do anything out of this world,” Gregory said. “They didn’t have to do anything mind blowing and spectacular — just do what you do and the reporters will talk about the comeback.”
After shooting 35.5 percent (11 of 31) in the first half, Timberview shot 69.2 percent (18 of 26) in the second half.
“Coach just told us to relentlessly do what we did for the past 40 games,” junior Isaac Likekele said. “Attack the rim and stop settling for easy jump shots.”
Mullins shot 13 of 20 from the field and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line. Johnson finished with 15 points, senior William Owens 10 and Likekele nine. The Wolves had 10 steals to just one for the Buffalos, and held Marshall to 12-of-30 shooting after halftime.
Marshall was led by Rice with 20 points and Sherman with 17.