DUNCANVILLE, Texas - The Dallas Mustangs last week proved it was one of the best summer basketball teams - if not the best team - in the country by winning the inaugural adidas Invitational in Indianapolis.
The Mustangs continued its run through national-tournament competition by winning the NBA Blue Division championship of the Great American Shoot-Out at the Bob Knight Fieldhouse in Duncanville. In a tournament featuring teams from nine states, the Mustangs downed the San Antonio RoHawks in an all-Texas affair, 54-42.
With all the victories Mustangs coach Tony Johnson has compiled in his career, Monday's win gave him his first GASO championship.
"It feels great, but you've got to give it up to the kids," Johnson said. "They played their butts off. They were tired; they just got back from Indy and slept about five hours and played. They did a good job and played hard."
The RoHawks were in the driver's seat early, taking a 17-10 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the first half. The Mustangs, however, went on a 10-0 run in a three-minute span and ended up with a 24-19 halftime edge. The Mustangs outscored the RoHawks, 14-2, in the final five minutes of play.
"We've got a lot to prove," Johnson said. "Everybody expected a lot out of them last year, but they were still young. Now, we've got to worry about Las Vegas and the 64 [adidas Super 64]."
The RoHawks trimmed the lead to four with four minutes left in the second half, but the Mustangs picked up its defensive intensity, holding the RoHawks to one point in the final four minutes.
"They had an edge on us on the boards," RoHawks coach Ed Johnson said about the Mustangs. "I think the game was won with two categories - the fact that they were more aggressive and the free throws that we missed. Those things win championships."
The RoHawks struggled from the foul line, connecting on only 9 of 18 (50 percent). The Mustangs made 20 of 27 (74 percent) from the charity stripe.
Devonta Abron led the Mustangs with 23 points. He scored 17 of those points in the second half. Jordan Williams, who had an outstanding tournament overall, added 12 points for the Mustangs. Marshall Harris had 11 points, and Darrious Hamilton added 10 for the RoHawks.
The Mustangs dedicated the tournament to Deion Jackson-Houston, who was killed in an automobile accident on July 3. Each player and coach held up five fingers after the game, as Jackson-Houston wore No. 5 for Duncanville High School. The Mustangs' Luke Mergerson was a high school teammate of Jackson-Houston's.
GREAT AMERICAN SHOOT-OUT
(At Bob Knight Fieldhouse, Duncanville)
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BOXSCORE
NBA BLUE DIVISION
DALLAS MUSTANGS 24 30 - 54
SA ROHAWKS 19 23 - 42
Mustange: Nash 6, Thompson 2, Stiggers 8, Abron 23, Williams 12, Miles 3
RoHawks: Turner 5, Harris 11, Chase 2, Mills 5, Holmes 7, Brooks 2, Hamilton 10