For the first quarter Friday night, Crowley controlled the pace against El Paso Andress, settling into its preferred half-court offense after running for nearly four quarters on Tuesday against Waco.
Crowley was selective and patient with its shots. The Eagles played it more like a chess match than a track meet. Then Andress showed why it finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the state.
Andress outscored Crowley by 27 in the final three quarters, eventually finishing with a 58-36 win in the Class 4A Region I semifinal at The Coliseum.
Crowley trailed 19-14 at halftime, but saw that deficit double over the next eight minutes before Andress went on a 15-0 run to go up 54-30 with 2:20 left in the game.
Daneaz Moses’ pair of 3-pointers and a free throw were Crowley’s only points the final 7:35 of the game. Led by Jeffrey Long’s 17 points, Andress (31-2) had 11 players score.
Missed free throws prevented Crowley (19-12) from taking advantage of being able to play at the pace it wanted early in the game, coach Alfred Jones said. The Eagles were 6-for-16 at the line in the first half and finished the game 7-for-20. And once Andress was able to get ahead in the second quarter, Crowley got anxious.
“We just missed free throws,” Jones said. “I think when they got the lead, we rushed a little bit. It was just the little things we talked about — boxing out, rebounding and free throws. That’s what it came down to.”
Byron Cooke and Markus Jones each led Crowley with eight points.
“I told them to keep their head up,” Jones said. “That team, they were just better than us today. That’s part of the [state] tournament. You just have to bring your best every single day.”