District 10-5A is the toughest in the state.
That’s what Mansfield Timberview boys basketball coach Duane Gregory said after the team won its first UIL state championship Saturday in San Antonio.
The Wolves (32-7) used a 19-2 run in the third quarter to defeat Fort Bend Marshall 74-66 in the Class 5A final.
“There was a little bit of debate between our district and Marshall’s district, but clearly, 10-5A is the best district in the state of Texas,” Gregory said.
All four playoff teams from 10-5A reached the regional quarterfinals: Timberview routed two-time defending champ Lancaster 76-52, and Waxahachie got past Midlothian 70-59.
The top two teams met in the 5A Region II final with Timberview edging Waxahachie 45-44 in Garland.
“Whoever was going to win that game was going down to San Antonio and have a strong chance at winning it all,” Gregory said. “That’s how strong our district was.”
But it wasn’t just district play that prepared the Wolves to a state-title run.
Timberview started the season in the Cowtown Classic at North Crowley, defeating Everman 68-36, and played in the Thanksgiving Hoopfest at Duncanville and beat Carver from Montgomery, Ala., 84-73.
The Wolves went on to play at the Whataburger Tournament. They would drop their first game 59-49 to Class 6A champ DeSoto before reeling off four straight victories to win the consolation bracket.
Going to Lancaster and beating the Tigers 61-60 in overtime Jan. 10 was another turning point. It was Lancaster’s first home district loss in three years.
“The moment the guys felt we could go far and win was at the Whataburger tournament, and then going to Lancaster and getting a win on their home court,” Gregory said.
“We talked about it [Saturday]. They planted seeds early in the year and played some folks. Today’s the day you harvest what you planted back on Oct. 28 and by God, they did it,” Gregory said after the win.
Against Marshall, junior guard Chris Mullins was voted MVP after scoring 24 of his game-high 36 points in the second half, on 13 of 20 shooting. He was named to the 5A state all-tournament team with senior guard Tim Johnson, who had 15 points.
“Just means everything to us just for the simple fact that no one thought we’d be here, let alone win it,” Johnson said Saturday. “We just proved everybody wrong.”