A day after No. 22 Liberty Hill used a state semifinal buzzer beater to upset No. 5 Decatur in Friday's UIL 4A state semifinal, it lost Saturday's title game against No. 2 Oak Cliff Faith Family Academy the same way. The Runnin' Panthers led for over three quarters in the game, but the Eagles used a second half surge to grab a 53-51 win.
Faith Family Academy overcame a three-point second quarter, but used a 17-10 third period to cut a once 12-point deficit to three with a quarter to play. Trae Clayton scored five points in the period to lead six different Eagles in scoring.
That trend continued in the fourth quarter because Faith Family Academy used a 14-3 start to take a 51-43 lead with 2:25 left. It was the Eagles' first lead since it was 2-0 at the 7:45 mark of the opening period. Clayton added five more points in the fourth and finished with a game-high 15.
Late turnovers and missed shots opened the gate for a Liberty Hill comeback, and the Panthers stormed back to tie the game at 51 with 20 seconds left.
"These guys are warriors," said Liberty Hill coach Barry Boren. "They go out and believed. What it speaks to is their ability to take coaching and execute."
But, Faith Family Academy called a timeout to set up the last possession. Knowing Clayton would be covered, the Eagles gave the next hottest scorer an opportunity to make a game-winning play. That was VYPE Player of the Game Jordan Walsh, who scored six of his 10 points in the final period and wrapped up the win with a dunk as time expired.
"To be honest, I didn't really think about it," Walsh said of the final shot. "We needed this bucket. I don't want to go to overtime."
"We wouldn't want to have it any other way," Faith Family Academy coach Brandon Thomas said of the finish. "We went to our press break offense."
On the other side, Liberty Hill was led by Kaleb Bannon's 13 points and Jareck Naylor's 12.
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