SPORTS HEADLINES

Slidell dethrones Lipan, advances to state tournament

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, February 2, 2019.
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In the regular season opener Nov. 10, defending Class A champion Lipan erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to knock off Slidell by one point.

More than three months had passed, but Saturday in Mansfield, the Greyhounds finally got their revenge, dethroning the Indians 44-38 in the Class A Region III final. Slidell (31-8) advances to Class A semifinal for the first time since 1943-1944.

“I told them after the game when they got older and had kids of their own, they might understand the magnitude of what they did,” said Slidell coach Casey Pierce. “I think right now, they’re just excited. We talked about [getting to state] being the ultimate goal, but talking about it and being a part of it are two very different things. For right now, they’re still wrapped up in it.”

The Greyhounds fended off a furious second-half rally after taking a 22-16 lead after two quarters. Brock Harwell put Slidell up 18-6 early in the second quarter, drilling consecutive 3-pointers.

But the Indians were’t done, trimming the Greyhounds’ lead to two, 37-35, with 1:55 remaining.

“What [Lipan] has done over the past four seasons now is arguably as impressive as any other team in any classification in the state,” Pierce said. “Those kids don’t know how to lose very well. Being able to beat a team you know isn’t going to give up and you know is going to make runs at you, that’s a statement win to some degree.”

With Slidell clinging to a two-point lead, Harwell buried his third trey of the game to give the Greyhounds a 41-35 advantage with 42.4 seconds left. Hunter Horner and Slayton Pruett hit key free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

Slidell will play in the Class A semifinal at the Alamodome in San Antonio Thursday morning at either 8:30 or 10 a.m.

“It’s a culmination of what we’ve been trying to do the past five or six years since I was there as the assistant and now the head coach,” Pierce said. “It hasn’t always panned out that way, but we felt we should be in the conversation with the Lipan’s and Graford’s. I think this win solidifies our program has some good players and good coaches.”

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