Euless Trinity couldn’t sustain a first-half lead over No. 1 Duncanville, but the Trojans’ season was unexpected by many.
The Trojans were in the regional tournament for the first time since 1996, but their Cinderella season ended on Friday to the Panthers, 71-50, in a Class 6A Region I semifinal at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
“No one thought we’d go this far,” said senior Andre Nunley, Trinity’s leading scorer this season.
Duncanville (29-7) advances to its first regional final since 2009 to face No. 2 Guyer (32-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday at the WGC.
“No one thought we’d beat Tascosa or North Crowley, so it’s been a humbling process and I’m glad I could do it with my brothers in my last year,” said Nunley, who finished with a team-high 11 points with five rebounds.
Trinity (22-11) came out strong with the first eight points that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Nunley and Marcus Ervin. Jaxson Kapellusch’s layup made it 10-1 with 3:59 in the opening period. Kapellusch and Keanu Hill added two more field goals to give Trinity a 14-10 edge after one.
The Trojans went up 21-13 with 6:07 left in the half after buckets by Nunley and Ervin, who scored eight, and a trey from Kameron Dancy. Eugine Ogaro, who also added eight, drained another Trinity three for a 24-18 lead, but it was all Duncanville from there.
The Panthers scored on the following possession when Damon Nicholas picked up two-straight offensive boards and finished it in the paint. Texas Tech signee Jahmius Ramsey recorded one of his three dunks in the first half and a field goal with 3:35 left in the second quarter gave Duncanville its first lead at 25-24.
The Panthers never trailed again.
“We knew going in that they were going to pressure us,” said Trinity coach Mark Villines, who’s been with the program the past 16 years. “It’s a little different than North Crowley, they’re more up tempo. We started great, but I wish we could’ve sustained it. We had four big turnovers in the second quarter that all led to buckets and gave them that separation. A team like that, going up 9, 10 points, it’s hard to come back on them.”
Duncanville extended its 35-28 halftime lead to 17 thanks to a 14-4 run. Micah Peavy led the Panthers with a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds. Ramsey added 14, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“If you asked me at the start of the season if this would be the group of kids to do this, I probably would’ve said no, but they’re the perfect example of a team,” Villines said. “They’ve done nothing but bust their tails off all year long.”
Northwest 65, Palo Duro 54
Oklahoma State signee Avery Anderson scored a game-high 33 points as the Texans defeated the Dons in a 5A Region I semifinal game at Western Texas College in Snyder.
The Texans (30-7) will face Timberview in the regional final at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Snyder and look for a berth into the state tournament for the third-straight season.
Timberview 64, Monterey 48
Rodrigo Soares led all scorers with 24 points along with five rebounds and the Wolves knocked out the Plainsmen in a 5A Region I semifinal game at Western Texas College.
Timberview shot 77.8 percent from the field in the second half after only 33.3 percent in the first half. Trazarien White finished with 16 points and seven boards while CJ Smith dished out seven assists.
The Wolves (35-2) take on Northwest in hopes of clinching their second state tourney berth in three years.
Grace Prep 58, The Woodlands Christian 54 OT
Arlington Grace Prep avenged last season’s title loss to The Woodlands Christian to capture the TAPPS 4A state championship on Friday at West High School. It’s the Lions’ first title since 2012.
Midland Classical 66, Lake Country 38
The Knights started the game with a 15-2 run and their 2-3 zone defense stifled the Eagles all day long during a TAPPS 3A state semifinal win at Waco University HS.
Midland Classical (24-5) advances to the state title game for the third year in a row, looking to win back-to-back championships when it faces Beaumont Legacy (25-8) at 9 a.m. on Saturday at West HS.
Lake Country (27-16), which won the 4A title last season, was led by Brinley Kilpatrick’s 21 points.