By DR. DAVID DAVIS
For the first time in school history, the Dawson Eagles boys basketball team advanced to the Class 6A Region III tournament after taking out the Kingwood Mustangs 41-15.
Dawson’s defense literally shutdown Kingwood leaving many fans wondering how the Mustangs got this far in the playoffs.
Yet, Kingwood knocked off the Dickinson Gators who won the District 24-6A title. This allowed them to advance to face Dawson in the regional quarterfinals.
Kingwood showed up but they must have left their offense at home as Dawson literally shut them down.
The score was 20-2 after the opening quarter.
Kingwood scored the first five points on two baskets to start the second quarter to make it 20-7, but then went scoreless the final 5:31 of the period.
Dawson’s offense countered with a basket by Jules Moor and a 3-point bomb by Phillip Prater to make the score 25-7 at intermission.
For the game, Kingwood made just six shots from the floor.
“No, I could never have imagined that,” Dawson head coach Mark Barre said. “We’re really good, defensively, but no way could I have dreamed they would score just 15 points.”
It didn’t get any better for the Mustangs as they scored only one basket in the third quarter while Dawson’s Karl Nicholas scored all three Eagle baskets in the quarter as Dawson’s lead stretched to 31-7 entering the final eight minutes.
Dawson finished off the Mustangs 10-8 in the final frame to take the 41-15 win to advance to the 6A regional tournament.
Barre knew his team was ready, but was still amazed at how events unfolded.
“I feel my goal as a coach and staff is to have our guys completely ready,” he said. “That means watching film, and we must have watched 10 films on Kingwood.
“Here are their plays, here are their players…that way, if we lose, we busted our tails and we have no regrets.”
Kris Dixon was the game’s leading scorer with 12 points while Nicholas tossed in eight points.
Fort Bend Bush 59 – Dawson 55
When Dawson head coach Mark Barre looks back at the game with Fort Bend Bush in the Class 6A Region III semifinals, the veteran coach will see a glaring difference in an otherwise tight contest.
Dawson outscored Bush in the paint 34-26. Dawson outscored Bush 17-2 on turnovers. Dawson outscored Bush 8-4 with second chance shots. Dawson outscored Bush 3-0 from the players coming off the bench.
The difference maker in the game is that Bush went to the free throw line 30 times, hitting 22, while Dawson went to the charity stripe only 12 times, hitting six.
That is a difference of 16 points while the Eagles fell to Bush 59-55.
Dawson also saw three of their top five players foul out of the game while Bush didn’t have a player tagged for more than three fouls. All total, Dawson was called for 28 fouls while Bush was whistled only 14 times.
“Our four and five guys didn’t play the entire second quarter,” Barre said, referring to senior post Nicholas and Matthews. Then Karl picks up his third right away in the third quarter.
“In that kind of game against a team like that, you have to have your best guys on the court as much as possible.”
There was no question that the Fort Worth officiating crew didn’t view the game from equal standards that led to Dawson being eliminated.
Dawson had already faced Bush earlier in the season in a non-district contest and beat the Broncos 73-62 so the Eagles knew they could compete and challenge for a win to advance to the region finals.
“So we had guys playing that have not had a lot of playing experience most of the year,” Barre said. “To try to step up in that environment is tough.
“Whether you agree with it or not, you’re still in foul trouble.”
Barre has never been one to blame someone else for a loss and he didn’t do it this time, but the final foul totals would certainly give him a case in the loss.
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” he said. “You just have to play through it. Having to play from behind personnel-wise and sustain it is tough.
“And Bush is a top-10 team in the state. When you’re doing something you’re not used to doing, it throws everything out of whack. We couldn’t run stuff we normally run.”
Bush took the first quarter 12-11, but Dawson rallied in the second period 16-14 for a 27-26 lead at intermission.
Dawson found their stride in the third quarter posting a seven-point lead 37-28 with almost three minutes gone in the period.
The Eagles got a basket from Kris Dixon with a little over three minutes left in the third for a 37-33 advantage and then the Eagles offense would dry up as Bush went on a 6-0 run to grab a 39-37 advantage leading up to the final period.
The Broncos would continue their offensive barrage scoring the first seven points of the fourth period to post a 46-37 lead before Dawson scored their first basket. The 14-2 run by Bush gave them a 56-41 cushion before Dawson made one final 10-0 run that cut the lead to 56-51.
The run was sparked by a pair of 3-point play by Nicholas, a 3-point bomb by Josh Lewis, and a basket by Jules Moor.
Moor would follow up with another basket his shot while sitting on the floor that somehow went in the hole cutting the lead to 56-53 and only one possession from tying up the game with 32 seconds remaining in the game.
The Eagles were forced to foul putting Trevion Bradley on the line. He made one-of-two giving Bush a 57-53 lead, but his missed second shot was grabbed by the Broncos and Dawson was forced to foul immediately with 10 seconds.
Bush made the free throws giving them a 59-53 lead.
In the final seconds, Moor scored on an easy layup making the final score 59-55.
Moor led Dawson with 18 points, Dixon scored 12 and Braxton Lovings finished with 11.
Dawson finished 26-8 for the season and 11-1 in district to finish as Co-Champs of District 23-6A with Pearland.