|Lions Playoff Run Ends in Regional Finals||ICON_SEP Print ICON_SEP|
|Written by Scott Batts|
The Teague Lions like to study history and make it as well. Football, baseball and now both basketball teams are now in the history making business. But the run ended in the regional final.
On Tuesday, the Lions took on Franklin at University High School and the winner would indeed advance to the Region III tournament at Midway. The Lions jumped out to a double digit lead and made it hold up in a 70-58 win.
A.J. Weathers hit a three pointer and Donovynn Smith added two more in the first period and Teague led 22-9. The teams evened the second quarter and Teague took that 13 point lead into the halftime break. Mylan Shed led the way with 11 points in the period.
Teague hit three of four in the third period and eased out to a 57-43 lead. Keshawn Rice scored 11 points in the frame. Franklin tried to keep the game close and Raheem Green added a three pointer close to the end of the third in one final attempt to narrow the gap.
Franklin did make one final push and got as close as five points. Thomas Box and Green hit threes in the early moments of the final period. Box scored on driving lay ups and the Franklin defense watched as Rice slashed through them for five points and closed the game out at the free throw line.
Rice led the way with 19 points and Weathers added 13 in the 70-58 win over Franklin.
The regional semifinal would be the second game of the night. LaMarque and Jarrell played in the first game and it went into overtime. Jarrell would come from behind and win in overtime 76-69 and advance to the regional final.
Teague would face the Kountze Lions in the regional semifinal for the third straight year. The first year was a loss at Angelina College in Lufkin and last year Kountze claimed a hard fought win at Midway. The Lions looked to get over the hump and for the first three quarters it appeared to be in a dazzling and dominant fashion.
The Lions slashed through the Kountze defense for several easy baskets in the first period. Three times they picked up the foul and twice completed the three point chance. Rice scored nine in the period and had a 10-0 run and led 21-11 after one.
It was almost a carbon copy of the first period when the second set of eight minutes started. Shed had nine in the period and Rice had six and the defense forced Kountze to miss eight shots and the 19-10 period had the Lions of Teague ahead 40-21 at the break.
The Lions continued to pour on the offense at the beginning of the second half. Rice and Weathers had pull up jumpers and Mylan Shed had a steal and pass to Rice for the finish. The turning point of the quarter was Heard finishing with a lay in after missing three and getting his own rebound each time. Rice added a steal and score and Shed had a breakaway score. The lead swelled to 59-29 before T.J. Sanford scored five straight to end the third with a 60-38 Teague lead.
Kountze had a run and run they did. The lead of over twenty shrunk to single digits and the Lions had to hang on for the win. Jerimiah Baker scored five straight and he and Sanford scored 12 straight to cut the lead to 69-60. A Teague timeout with three minutes to go pushed the Lions to hold onto the win. Shed had a couple of easy baskets off of steals from Jaylon Davis and Rice and put the game away for the 78-71 win and a date with the Jarrell Cougars on Saturday afternoon.
Teague had completed the journey of getting past the regional semifinal. The only thing that stood in the way of the Lions making the trip to San Antonio and the state tournament was the Jarrell Cougars.
Teague and Jarrell were meeting for the second time this season. The Lions defeated the Cougars in the semifinal of the Jarrell tournament. The Cougars were without the services of 6’7” Qyrique Dabon and he would be the difference in this game. He scored five of his game high29 in the first period. Rice hit a three pointer near the end of the first and cut the gap to 12-8 after one. A.J. Smith pulled down 10 rebounds in the first for the Cougars
Both teams got in a groove in the second period. Kyle Spencer hit a three to open and close the period. Dabon scored nine points and showed his dominating presence in the paint. The Lions were trying to shoot over the Cougar zone defense and Jaylon Davis hit a three to close the Cougar gap to 25-15. Teague hit all five of their free throws and ended the half on a 5-0 run and the Cougar lead was 33-26.
Teague had had some trouble holding leads in the playoffs but this time they were down twenty heading into the fourth period. The Lions were in an unusual position but they did make a final run and it was exciting to end the season.
Teague went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 53-41 in the first minute of the final period. Rice and Weathers penetrated the Cougar defense for a pair of scores and Smith and Davis each hit threes to close the gap. The Lions got hot again and made five out of six from the field. Rice hit two threes from the corner and Rodney Kuykendall scored twice and Shed and Weathers added scores. The Lions cut the lead to nine but could get no closer. Jarrell hit 15 of 17 free throws in the later stages and closed out the 74-58 win.
The Jarrell Cougars make their second to the state tournament and the first time since 2007. Rice scored 15 to lead the Lions.
Teague ends their season at 25-9 and the history continues. Next season should be a good test of history for the Teague Lions.
(Photos by Monte Calame)