By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
All throughout their playoff season, the Fort Bend Marshall boys’ basketball team used aggressive defense to trigger scoring runs as they won their way to the state championship game.
Last Saturday, the Buffalos came up one scoring run short as Mansfield Timberview beat Marshall 74-66 to win the 2017 5A state championship in San Antonio at the Alamodome.
Marshall controlled the first half as their aggressive defense and running game shut down the Mansfield offense as the Buffalos took a halftime lead of 37-27. The second half saw Mansfield out-Marshall Marshall as the Wolves picked up their defensive intensity, causing turnovers leading to a 19-2 run and a 49-43 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“They got a run in the third quarter and it came at a bad time for us. We thought we would come out with a run, but it never came,” Marshall coach Gary Nichols said. “We never got another one.”
Mansfield never let up in the fourth quarter as they claimed their first state championship. The final score was 74-66.
Jabari Rice led Marshall with 20 points and Taz Sherman scored 17. Marshall ended their season with 32 wins and 8 losses.
“I am just so elated about this group, especially the seniors. We fought through adversity all year long. They are champions,” Nichols said. “They learned a lesson that sometimes you play as hard as you can and still not win. That’s the way life is. As long as you play your best, you are a champion.”
“It was a blessing just to play in this championship game. One of our season’s goals was to get here and we got here. We just couldn’t finish it,” Rice said. “We’re not going to hold our heads down.”
“This is the best Marshall team ever. We will always have that,” John Walker said. “We are very honored just to get here. Now we just have to focus on the next thing.”
Marshall beat Northwest 82-59 in the semifinals to earn their way into the championship game. The Buffalos used a 13-0 scoring run in the second quarter to take a lead they would not give up.
The District 23-5A all-district team has been announced. Chandler Jacobs of Elkins has been named Most Valuable Player and Albert Thomas of Elkins was named Coach of the Year. First team members include:
Elkins: Jacobs, Larry Kuimi, and Morgan Armstrong
Marshall: John Walker, Jabari Rice, and Taz Sherman
Second team members include:
Elkins: Wentrell Williams and Robert Means
Marshall: Floyd Nzamba and Anthony Norman
Willowridge: Jalen Knott, Israel Boyd and Calexiun Hollinquest