Cibolo Steele threw punch after punch at DeSoto on Friday and almost came away with the upset at the Alamodome.
But 6-foot-11 center Marques Bolden proved to be too much for Steele’s undersized lineup.
No. 4 DeSoto advanced to Saturday’s Class 6A state final with a 58-53 overtime victory over the Knights.
“You have to remember, these guys make each other better, they pick each other up. It’s a family, it really is,” DeSoto coach Chris Dyer said.
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He’s a big part of the equation. He’s 6-foot-11 and he makes us all better, makes me a better coach and makes the others better players.
DeSoto coach Chris Dyer on Marques Bolden
Bolden finished with 31 points on 11 of 14 shooting and 16 rebounds.
“He’s a big part of the equation. He’s 6-foot-11 and he makes us all better, makes me a better coach and makes the others better players,” Dyer said.
The Eagles (35-2) play No. 1 Humble Atascocita, a 78-67 winner over No. 2 Houston Sam Houston, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Steele (32-4) erased a five-point deficit late to force overtime, but DeSoto held the Knights to just two points in the extra frame to advance to its fourth state title game in program history.
The Eagles will look for their third state championship, winning 5A titles in 2003 and 2009.
DeSoto went up 51-46 with 2:07 left in regulation after Bolden made two free throws, but went scoreless thereafter, which allowed Steele to tie the game.
Elijah Payne made a quick 3 and hit two free throws with 35 seconds left for Steele.
Winchester added eight points for DeSoto and Tristen Wallace chipped in 11 points off the bench.
“Tristen gave us a lot of heart. He comes in and plays hard and all he wants to do is to win, it doesn’t matter, he just wants to win,” Dyer said.
Steele led 19-13 after one and 27-23 at half. The Knights shot 41.7 percent in the first half, but were held to 27.3 percent in the second half.