For the first time in eight years the Childress Bobcats are headed to the UIL Class 3A state tournament.
Childress punched its ticket by fending off Brock in a thrilling 56-55 overtime win in a Region I-3A championship game at Frenship High School on Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats (27-7) advance to the Alamodome in San Antonio for the first time since 2015 and will get set for the semifinals on Thursday. It’s also the first time for fifth-year head coach Wayne Parker to get his chance to coach at the state tournament.
“It’s a super exciting feeling,” Parker said. “This team showed so much grit. This means a lot to them because they know the guys that made it in 2015, so it’s awesome to continue that trend. To me personally, this means everything. This is my first time to get to state as a coach and I’m just soaking it all in.”
A key moment for the Bobcats came in the late second and midway through the third quarter. The Eagles (26-8) were seemingly in control up 28-21 entering the final minute of the second quarter. But Childress was able to close that final minute with a quick four points going into halftime only trailing 28-25.
To open the first four minutes of the third quarter, Childress then went on a 9-0 run to open a 41-38 third quarter advantage.
“The end of the second and the start of the third was big for us,” Parker said. “Brock had a little separation on us and we were able to claw back in it.”
In a game that saw over 10 lead changes, Brock held a 51-49 lead with 50 seconds to play until Scout Smith of Childress made a game-tying layup at the 40 second mark that tied the contest. Neither team was able to score the rest of the fourth and the game went to overtime. Childress also had to play overtime without star guard Lamont Nickleberry who fouled out in the closing minutes. Without Nickleberry Aiden Allen and the rest of the Bobcats stepped up. Allen made the eventual game-winning layup with 1:30 to play putting Childress up 56-54. Brock made 1-of-2 free-throws with a minute left, then the Bobcat defense clamped down as Brock missed a 30-footer to end the game.
“Obviously Lamont is best athlete and one of the top scorers we have,” Parker said. “That could have hurt us not having him, but the entire team stepped up. Kobe Sims and Isaiah Jalamo came off bench and played huge minutes in overtime. I can speak enough of team effort. And what can I say about Aiden (Allen). Aiden is a big-time player that makes big shots. He’s also a great defender that’s always in the right spot.”
Allen was the game MVP scoring 19 points. Nickleberry had a game-high 20. Brock’s Zach Lewis finished with a game-high 23 points.
Brock 15 28 38 51 55
Childress 16 25 41 51 56
B- Zach Lewis 23, Sawyer Strosnider 12. C- Lamont Nickleberry 20, Aiden Allen 19, Billy Moore 11. Records: Brock 26-8; Childress 27-7.