Just when it looked like the West Orange-Stark Mustangs were going to punch their ticket to the Class 3A Region III Finals, the Navasota Rattlers stole it from them in the fourth quarter.
The Rattlers, behind Tren’Davian Dickson and Jerbrell, went on a 22-14 run in the fourth quarter to down the Mustangs 65-61 in the Region III Semifinals at Johnson Coliseum Friday night at Sam Houston State University.
The Mustangs (28-9) led 47-43 at the end of the third after a big third period by post Ty Thompson.
The Rattlers (27-3) responded with seven of the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to tie it up at 50-50 and a Lipscomb trey gave Navasota a 53-50 edge and a lead they would never relinquish.
“We just made some mistakes there in the fourth quarter that this team just didn’t make all year,”said WO-S coach Jason Wilkins. “We hurt ourselves with some foul trouble. I thought our kids off the bench played huge tonight. Give the Navasota kids credit, they earned it. Our kids gave a tremendous effort it just wasn’t meant to be tonight. I think the teams were very evenly matched coming in and we both showed that.”
The Rattlers led by as much as 59-52 after a slashing drive by Dickson with 2:18 left.
The Mustangs, however, would not go away. Two free-throws by Chase Rutledge cut it to 59-57 with 1:34 left.
Lipscomb sank two free-throws to make it 63-59 with 0:43 left. Rutledge countered with a big rebound and putback to cut it to two with 0:10 left.
LaMarquis Jefferson sealed the deal for the Rattlers by sinking two charity shots with 0:09 left.
“I really hate to see it all come to and end,” said Wilkins. “We have such a tremendous senior class. I’m going to miss these guys. Four rounds deep in the playoffs is a great accomplishment and I’m so proud of them.”