It has been an up-and-down basketball season for the Manvel Mavericks, but they eventually worked their way to making the playoffs and then a spot in the Class 5A Region III finals of the regional tournament to face district rival Fort Bend Marshall.
A win over the Buffaloes would have sent the Mavs to a first-ever trip to the 5A boys state basketball tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Manvel was able to control Marshall in the first half as they forged a 25-24 lead at intermission.
Manvel junior Jalen Preston was the offensive leader as he scored 13 first-half points including a 3-pointer.
But things changed in the second half as Marshall wasn’t going to remain tied down and they used their speed and athleticism to take charge in the final two quarters to eventually run past the Mavericks for the 82-57 victory.
Marshall scored 58 second-half points while holding Manvel to 32 points with 34 points coming in the final frame for the Buffaloes.
Jabari Rice led Marshall with 26 points including six 3-pointers with five of them in the second-half.
Leading 25-24 to begin the second-half, Manvel was outscored 24-13 in the third quarter and 34-19 in the final frame.
“We wanted to slow the pace down and turn it into a half-court game, and at halftime we felt good about the pace,” Manvel coach Chris Wilson said. “The second half, we were in our 1-3-1, and then they hit three 3s in a row and pushed the lead up. They got hot. And so we came out, we went man, and then we didn’t have an answer for (John Walker).
“But that four or five minutes in the third was the difference in the game.”
That’s when Marshall went on a 13-0 run, featuring back-to-back 3s by Rice from the right corner and a rainbow 3 by Walker from the left corner, turning a 35-32 lead into a 48-32 advantage.
Rice drained four 3s in the third.
Manvel cut the deficit to 48-38 going to the fourth quarter, and pulled within 53-45 with 5:58 remaining, but then the Buffs blew the game open with a 22-2 run, burying the Mavs before they could respond.
Walker, who was 1-of-6 in the first half, finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
“We broke a lot of records – first time past the third round, first time to the regional tournament and first time to the finals, so I’m proud of them,” Wilson said. “They fought, they listened, they were coachable.”
Story by Dr. David Davis
Photo by Casey Chancellor