Lindale senior Jordan VanDeKop took the inbounds pass, saw an opening to the rim and slammed the ball home to begin the final quarter.
The Eagles were in total control.
VanDeKop finished with a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead Lindale past Spring Hill, 61-53, in the Class 3A Region II quarterfinals Tuesday night at UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center. The victory advanced the Eagles to the regional tournament for the second straight season.
“To start it off with that dunk really got the crowd going and carried the momentum into the fourth,” Eagles coach Scott Albritton said. “I can’t tell you how big that was.”
Lindale (27-8) will meet Wilmer-Hutchins, which eliminated Carrollton Ranchview 49-46 on Tuesday, in the regional semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Texas A&M-Commerce. Spring Hill completed its season with a 26-7 record.
VanDeKop, the reigning All-East Texas Player of the Year, took over in the third to help Lindale take command. The 6-6 forward scored 14 points in the quarter as the Eagles turned a two-point game into a 46-35 advantage entering the fourth.
VanDeKop continued to dominate in the final period, increasing the lead to 48-35 right out of the gate on his electrifying dunk. Josiah Johnson added 12 points for the Eagles, who led by as many as 14 in the fourth.
“At halftime we said we were going to get the ball inside,” Albritton said. “We were going to go inside on every single possession.”
Spring Hill’s Matt Ballard and Clay Lattier finished with 14 points and 11 points, respectively.
Lindale went into the break up 28-26 following a back-and-forth opening half, during which the Eagles led most of the time. Spring Hill rallied from eight points down to tie the score midway through the second quarter, but Johnson put Lindale ahead on a basket with 10 seconds to go.
The Eagles never looked back.
“Getting to regionals is special,” Albritton said. “It’s been a long time since a Lindale team’s gone to regionals two years in a row.”
Lindale 61, Spring Hill 53
Class 3A Region II Quarterfinals
At Herrington Patriot Center, UT Tyler
Lindale 15 13 18 15 — 61
Spring Hill 10 16 9 18 — 53
LINDALE — Jordan VanDeKop, 32; Josiah Johnson, 12; Steven Young, 6; Johnny Pittman, 5; Nick Butcher, 2; Austin Drawbond, 2; Mason Terry, 2.
SPRING HILL — Matt Ballard, 14; Clay Lattier, 11; Caleb Jones, 9; Brandon Robbins, 6; Kendon Womack, 8; Ben Brundrett, 2; Landon White, 3.
THREE-POINT GOALS — L: none. SH: Robbins, Ballard (3).
RECORDS — Lindale 27-8; Spring Hill 26-7.
NEXT UP — Lindale vs. Wilmer-Hutchins, 6 p.m. Friday, Texas A&M-Commerce; Spring Hill, season complete.