AUSTIN - All year long, even when others said they couldn't, Dallas Kimball has found ways to get the job done.
No time better symbolized that than Saturday afternoon, when Kimball turned a five-point deficit into a 78-75 win in the UIL Class 4A state championship game against Houston Yates. In the final minute of the game, Kimball trailed, 75-70, but big 3-pointers by Torrey Henry and late free throws by Shannon Lilly gave the Knights their second straight Class 4A state title.
"That's what we talked about before the game and at halftime and going into the fourth quarter," Kimball coach Royce Johnson said. "Someone was going to have to hit a big shot."
And someone did.
After a missed free throw by Yates with 44 seconds left, Kimball (34-5) managed to cut the lead to two on a 3-pointer by Henry with 29 seconds on the clock. They fouled Yates, and the Lions couldn't convert on two separate 1-and-1 opportunities.
With 15 seconds left, Kimball's Keith Frazier grabbed the rebound and connected with Darian Hancock, who then found Henry in the corner for a huge 3-pointer with 12 seconds left. Kimball led, 76-75.
The ensuing inbound play resulted in Yates (33-6) turning the ball over on an overthrow of a long pass. Kimball's Lilly was fouled with six seconds left, and he knocked down both free throws. Yates had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Oregon signee Damyean Dotson missed a 3-pointer in the corner, sending the 9,957 in attendance into a frenzy.
"I knew I had to step in and shoot with confidence and follow through," Henry said. "I knew I had God on my side. I just let it go."
Johnson added: "When Hancock kicked it to [Henry], we were down two, and I was saying drive. I've always told these guys you're players, and have confidence. As a coach, I'm going to tell you something, but don't be afraid to make a play. He didn't hesitate."
Kimball became the first back-to-back Class 4A state champions since Yates did it in 2009 and 2010. Ironically, Yates beat Kimball for the title in 2009.
Henry had 12 points, while Frazier - a transfer from Irving High - had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Knights. Lilly, nicknamed "Mr. Big Shot" by Johnson, finished with a game-high 27 points and was named the state tournament game MVP for the second consecutive year. Lilly made five 3-pointers and connected on 8 of 12 shot attempts.