Amarillo High’s Brendan Hausen and Damonze Woods celebrate during the Sandies Region I-5A Tournament semifinal game against Mansfield Summitt on Friday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum in Wichita Falls. [Naomi Skinner/ For Press Pass Sports]
WICHITA FALLS— Amarillo High’s motto during its 2022 playoffs is simple and to the point: Survive and advance.
Consider the job well done Friday.
Amarillo High busted open a tie game at half by blitzing Mansfield Summit with a 7-0 run opening the second half eventually fending off talented Mansfield Summit 72-65 in a Region I-5A semifinal at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The win advances AHS (32-6) into the Region I-5A finals for the second consecutive year with a state tournament berth on the line.
AHS will face Mansfield Timberview (34-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Timberview easily handled El Paso Chapin Frisco evening 83-56.
Mansfield Timberview coach Duane Gregory said AHS will be handful.
“They are very well coached and extremely talented,” said Gregory, whose team fell to AHS last year 55-34 in the regional semifinals. “They have all the pieces. We will have to play well.”
Should the Sandies win history would be along for the ride as no Amarillo ISD boys basketball team has ever advance to state in consecutive years.
“That’s it, survive and advance right now,” said AHS senior and Villinova signee Brendan Huasen, who was brilliant throughout scoring a game-high 30 points on a dazzling 7-for-8 effort from 3-point land. “They need me to do that. I have put in the work and I told myself when I got here (to Wichita Falls) I wanted to bring us to the promise land. We took another step today. That’s my job.”
Summit and Amarillo High went back and forth in the first half settling nothing with the score knotted at 36. Although, Summit it could drain threes in the opening half making four and AHS was uncharacteristic with 10 turnovers.
That changed in a hurry in the third quarter.
Three minutes into the second half AHS rolled off a 7-0 run building a 43-36 lead.
The run was sparked by seniors Hausen and center Cade Hornecker, a Southern Illinois signee who briefly hobble off the court in the second half but returned quickly.
AHS never the lost the lead to Summit once senior post Cade Honecker scored on a put back for a 38-36 lead. Hornecker, who stands seven foot, showed his toughness grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds before scoring.
“That was huge,” said AHS coach Jason Pillion. “It was really was. Cade was there battling and then Brendan really shot the ball well tonight. That really relaxed us and kind of confirmed what we had talked about at half. It was very big mentally.”
Hornecker was thorn in Summit’s side all game scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds as the only player producing a double double in the game.
AHS crushed Summit on the boards 31-14 with Hornecker and 6-6 senior Damonze Woods (nine rebounds) two of the main cogs in that domination.
Summit coach Emund Pritchett said the 7-0 run certainly impacted the game, but he was more disappointed in his overall teams defense.
“We know basketball is a game of runs and that 7-0 run was definitely was big,” Pritchett said. “But 72 points is a lot to give up. You aren’t going to win many. Our defense was horrendous to say the least. (Even though we were tied at halftime) they pretty much scored on every possession.”
AHS forged a 57-48 by the end of third period, Hausen canning three of seven 3-pointers in those eight minutes.
“We said if we could limit our turnovers, handle their pressure through the first three or four minutes, we have a chance,” said Hausen, who came up with not only one but two four-point plays during the game. “We are a good shooting team, we have big guys, if we have a chance we can score.
“I think I was feeling it this morning when I walked in the arena. I got here with our manager Trevor. I put up 250 shots boom, boom, boom, before I even stepped on the floor the game.”
All but five of the AHS points were scored by the foursome of seniors D-I signees Hausen (30), Hornecker (14), Woods (11) and junior Corey Nickerson, Jr. (11). Nickerson was 6-of-6 from the free throw line helping late ther to deny Summitt a chance for a lte comeback.
Summit fired away at long distance all game over the Sandies switching defenses (man-to-man and 2-3 zone) attempting 31 threes in 59 total field goal attempts.
Senior guard Nicholas Shogbonyo led Summit with 23 points followed by senior guard True Hardison with 15.
“We shot way too many threes and should have attacked more,” said Summit coach Prichett.
NOTE: The Amarillo High girls basketball team, which lost Thursday night in the state semifinals in San Antonio, stopped in to cheer on the AHS boys team.
And did they ever cheer, standing the entire game in one section near the court, many waving pom-poms.
“That means a lot,” Pillion said. “It says a lot about them. A lot abou their coaching staff and a lot about Amarillo High pulling for each other.”
Region 1-5A semifinals
At Kay Yeager Coliseum, Wichita Falls
Mansfield Summit 20 16 12 17 – 65
Amarillo High 17 19 21 15 – 72
Summit: Nicholas Shogbonyo 23, Richard Lemboye 15, Maxwell Jones 7, David Terrell 6, Frank Emmou 5, Jeffrey Scott 3.
Amarillo High: Brendan Hausen 30, Cade Hornecker 14, Damonze Woods 12, Corey Nickerson, Jr., 11, Cooper Pillion 3, Xa Landry-Britton 2.
Rebounds: Summit 14 (Shogbonyo 4), AHS 31 (Hornecker 14). 3-pointers:Summit 9-31 (Shogboyno 3, Hardison 3, Scott 1, Jones 1, Emmou 1); AHS 9-12 (Hausen 7, Nikcerson Jr., 1, Pillion 1). Records: Mansfield Summit 30-6, Amarillo High 32-6.