SAN ANTONIO — LaPoynor got a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of regulation in Friday morning’s Class 2A semifinal against Flatonia.

It wasn’t to force overtime or to take the lead. It was just the finishing touches of a dominating 66-43 victory for the Flyers inside the Alamodome.

The win sends No. 2 LaPoynor (33-7) to the Class 2A championship to take on No. 1 Lipan (37-1) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Lipan was a 52-44 winner over New Home in the first semifinal on Friday.

After leading 10-7 after the first quarter following a tiebreaking three by Mann Scott, LaPoynor opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to stretch its lead to double figures. Another 7-0 run to end the half, capped by a tip-in putback by Evan Almeida, gave the Flyers a 33-18 halftime lead.

The Flyers continued to control the game in the third quarter, leading 47-29 heading into the fourth quarter. LaPoynor got up by as much as 25, 61-36 with 1:59 to play. The Bulldogs cut it to 18 on a three by Kloesel Holden with 46 seconds left. LaPoynor added a layup by Jackson Young and then a three by Zade Howard at the buzzer to win by 23.

“We kind of had a little bit of a slow start offensively,” LaPoynor head coach Jim Reid said. “I think we did a good job defensively. We kind of had some jitters and a missed a few easy buckets. Flatonia does an outstanding job. We were fortunate to get some rebounds and get some fast breaks. Our press gave them fits early, and we were kind of able to stretch it out, and then we had to hold on in the second half. We are fortunate to have the leadership we have with our four seniors. I thought overall it was a well-played game by our guys.”

Three of those seniors — Evan Almeida, Cooper Gracey and Dijuan Whitehead — combined for 40 points and 31 rebounds. Almeida had 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Grace had 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Whitehead had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The other senior, Mathew Driskell, knocked down two threes in the first half and finished with 6 points, five assists and three steals. Cort Reid had 8 points, four assists and two steals.

This is LaPoynor’s 11th trip to the state tournament, including three times in the past four seasons. Flatonia was at state for the first time. The Flyers’ opponent on Saturday, Lipan, is at state for the 15th time and third straight year.

“It definitely does play a factor,” Gracey said of LaPoynor’s state tournament experience. “We come in here and we’re a lot less jittery than last year. Last year was basically our first time to play a lot of minutes, so to get that one year out of the way, it’s easier to come back and get your head in the right space.”

Flatonia’s 43 points tied for its second lowest this season — the lowest being 28 in a loss to Class 3A Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill.

Flatonia was 14 of 54 from the field and 4 of 24 from 3-point range on Friday.

“We had good shots,” Flatonia head coach Chris Sodek said. “It’s not like we were shooting shots that were all contested. We had open looks we didn’t knock down. That’s part of it. That’s the way basketball goes sometimes and that’s the way it went today.”

“We knew Flatonia shot a lot of 3s,” Reid said. “We wanted to get out and challenge. We know that when you get here and you rely on that, it can be difficult and you don’t get the shots.

"We were able to stop the dribble drive that they do. We were able to help off (the ball) extremely well. They’re extremely quick. Stopping the drive, getting out on the 3 and getting rebounds.”

Kloesel led the Bulldogs (34-5) with 13 points, but didn’t score until the 5:48 mark of the second quarter. Keyshaun Green added 11 points in the final game for seven Flatonia seniors.


Class 2A State Semifinal

LaPoynor 66, Flatonia 43

Points: (LP) Evan Almeida 14, Cooper Gracey 14, Dijuan Whitehead 12, Mathew Driskell 6, Cort Reid 8, Mann Scott 5, Jackson Young 2, Zade Howard 3, Daniel Scott 2. (F) Jaidyn Guyton 9, Keyshaun Green 11. Holden Kloesel 13, Luke Law 5, Duke Sodek 2, Dayton Cliffe 3.

Halftime: LaPoynor 35-18. 3-pointers: Driskell 2, Whitehead, Reid, M. Scott, Howard, Kloesel 3, Cliffe. Records: LaPoynor 33-7; Flatonia 34-5.

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