COMMERCE — Wilmer-Hutchins did not have an answer for Lindale post Jordan VanDeKop in the first half of their Class 3A Region II semifinal Friday with the senior post scoring 22 points.
In the second half, Lindale couldn’t answer Wilmer-Hutchins’ transition scoring.
Helped by 10 second-half Lindale turnovers, the Eagles from the Metroplex turned a 27-26 halftime lead into a 10-point advantage and continued their surge in the second half to defeat the Eagles from East Texas 62-47 at the Texas A&M-Commerce Field House.
Wilmer-Hutchins (27-7) advance to the 3A Region II final at 2 p.m. today. Lindale’s season is complete after the team made its second-straight trip to the regional tournament.
Despite another semifinal loss, Lindale coach Scott Albritton said his team, and especially his seniors, have left a lasting legacy.
“Of course everyone wants to make it to state, but the regional tournament is a big accomplishment,” Albritton said. “I really thought we had a shot at them, and we did, it was just a couple times during the game we let the game get away from us.”
A 3-pointer at the start of the fourth period by Lindale’s Johnny Pittman cut the deficit to five points, 44-39.
Wilmer-Hutchins’ answer was just as emphatic, outscoring Lindale 14-0. The Eagles did not get another point on the scoreboard until a free throw by Mason Terry with 2:53 remaining, which made the score 58-40.
“They were able to get long rebounds and push the ball up the floor and when they missed a layup they had a guy coming in right behind for the putback,” Albritton said of Hutchins’ surge in the fourth quarter. “They got really physical with Jordan down low and then scrambled out to (anyone else). We just couldn’t quite make the plays in the fourth quarter.”
Trailing by 18 with time running out after Terry’s free throw, Lindale showed everyone why it was here, swarming Hutchins’ guards and going the other way for layups. Lindale stunned Hutchins with a 7-0 run, forcing a timeout with the score now 58-47 with 1:12 remaining.
Hutchins missed a shot, and with the ball on the floor for the taking, all the Lindale players began sprinting for another transition basket. But no one took charge and grabbed the ball, enabling a Hutchins’ Devonse Reed to score on a layup and end any more comeback thoughts.
Reed led his team with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for Hutchins was Micah Cooper (16) and Xavier Brown (10).
VanDeKop finished with 29 points and 15 rebounds in the loss, but the double-double was small consolation to the senior.
“I am kind of devastated, but also confident that if we’d handled certain things a little bit better, we would’ve had this game,” VanDeKop said. “It kind of just slipped away. Their pressure got to us at key times and we didn’t really respond back effectively until it was too late.”
Also playing their final game for Lindale were Nick Butcher (five rebounds, four assists), Pittman (five points, two steals), Steven Young (two points), Peter Kraus (one rebound) and Kevin Smith.
VanDeKop is committed to Oklahoma Christian and showed why he’s playing at the next level, especially in the first half. Despite Wilmer-Hutchins swarming him down low once he got the ball, VanDeKop used fakes and moves to score. He had 10 of Lindale’s 12 first-period points for the Eagles to trail Hutchins 14-12 after the first quarter.
Hutchins tried to break free of Lindale in the second period, using a basket by Reed and steal and layup from Chad Morris to make the score 18-14.
Lindale’s response was to go inside and let VanDeKop do the rest. He scored twice, along with a bucket by Mason Terry to give Lindale its first lead of the game, 20-18, with five minutes left in the half. The teams went back-and-forth after that with Cooper putting Hutchins ahead at halftime with a steal and bucket.
Wilmer-Hutchins 62, Lindale 47
Class 3A Region II Semifinal
Texas A&M-Commerce Field House
Lindale 12 14 10 11 — 47
W-Hutchins 14 13 17 18 — 62
LINDALE — Nick Butcher, 0; Steven Young, 2; Josiah Johnson, 2; Mason Terry, 9; Jordan VanDeKop, 29; Johnny Pittman, 5; Peter Kraus, 0; Kevin Smith, 0; Austin Drawbond, 0; Trenton Louis, 0; Court Brown, 0; Andrew Crawley, 0. FG: 20-45. FT: 5-13.
WILMER-HUTCHINS — Chad Morris, 6; Xavier Brown, 10; Devonse Reed, 25; Micah Cooper, 16; Christian McCoggle, 3; Demmery Simon, 0; Willie Simon, 2; Kenneth Searl, 0; Torrey Williams, 0; DeMarcus Gabriel, 0; KeShawn Henderson, 0; Isiah Giles, 0; Steven Jones, 0; Zac Pier, 0; Quincy Washington, 0. FG: 27-65. FT: 8-13.
THREE-POINT GOALS — LIN (2-12) Terry, Pittman. WH (0-11).
RECORDS — Lindale 27-7; Wilmer-Hutchins 27-7.
NEXT UP — Lindale season complete; Wilmer Hutchins vs. Argyle-Pleasant Grove winner, 2 p.m. today in Class 3 Region II Final at Texas A&M Commerce Field House.