The experts didn’t give Liberty Hill a chance. Everyone said Oak Cliff Faith Family was going to win by at least 20 during Saturday’s Class 4A state title game at the Alamodome.
Liberty Hill gave Faith Family a dog-fight, tying it at 51 on a Walker Baty layup with 20 seconds to play.
But the Eagles came right back and beat the buzzer on a dunk by freshman Jordan Walsh to win 53-51 and capture a state title in their first trip to the tourney.
“Just like we drew it up, right,” Faith Family coach Brandon Thomas laughed. “I can’t even believe we’ve done it. To win it in that fashion, it’s unreal. It’s a story-book ending.”
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Faith Family finishes the year 36-6 while Liberty Hill ends at 34-7.
“I feel on top of the world. I feel like I’m the man,” Walsh said. “Glad my teammates made it available for me.”
The Panthers, who got a buzzer beater of their own by Parker McCurdy in Friday’s semifinals vs. Decatur, started the game on an 8-2 run and led 19-17 after one. Liberty Hill went up 6 on Jareck Naylor’s 2 free throws and Naylor hit a 3-pointer to send the Panthers into intermission ahead 30-20.
Liberty Hill got up to its largest lead, 32-20, early in the third, but Faith Family got a 3 from Langston Murphy-Brow and a 3-point play from freshman Trae Clayton to pull within 40-37 heading to the final period.
Clayton, who was voted state title game MVP with a game-high 15 points, cut to 1 with 6:33 left and the Eagles took the lead at 45-43 on Clayton’s 3-point play two minutes later. Walsh hit inside the paint to extend the lead to 4 and Keith Barnes made it 49-43 with 3 minutes remaining.
The Panthers got a basket from Kaleb Bannon and a 3 from Naylor, who had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, to cut it to 51-49 with under a minute to go.