In the days of Robert Hughes Sr., Fort Worth Dunbar was always a state contender.
Now coached by his son, Robert Hughes Jr., the Wildcats concluded their season with their 15th UIL state basketball appearance Thursday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The Wildcats fell 101-73 to No. 1 Fort Bend Elkins in a Class 5A state semifinal game to end their season 23-12.
It was the school’s first state trip to the boys state tournament in nine years, but the younger Hughes likes that Dunbar is back and looks to stay.
“We had a pretty good year,” Hughes said. “We didn’t finish like we wanted to, but we got back up here.”
Dunbar, which lost its first four games of the season, rebounded to win its second consecutive District 6-5A title.
The Wildcats will lose nine seniors, including leading scorers Logan Ray and Quinton Brigham, but seven players are expected back.
Brigham finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds against Elkins, and Ray had 17. Ray was named Class 5A Region I tournament MVP after scoring 29 points against Wichita Falls Rider in the region final March 5.
“They came here and for the varsity guys, two of them have been on varsity since they were freshmen,” Hughes said. “They had a good run.”
Junior Kobe Hill, who led the area in assists during the regular season with six per game, will return, along with junior Jerred Fields, who made the 5A Region I all-tournament team.
“At least we got back here and got some experience for the younger guys, and we should be back up here next year,” Hughes said. “So we can put on a better show.”
Dunbar has all of its UIL state appearances in the past 40 years. Hughes Jr. has been to three state tournaments since 2006.
The Wildcats went to state in 2006 and 2007 and were awarded the 2006 4A state title in 2008 after Dallas South Oak Cliff was stripped of the crown because of an ineligible player.