Tim Johnson’s free throw with 26 seconds remaining was the difference as Mansfield Timberview punched a ticket to the UIL Class 5A boys state championships in San Antonio with a 45-44 Region I final victory over Waxahachie on Saturday at the Curtis Culwell Center.
Timberview (30-7), which had lost to the Indians twice during the regular season, trailed by as many as 12 points in the second quarter before rallying.
“The first time we played them we didn’t play very well at all,” Timberview coach Duane Gregory said. “The second time we played them better. I told them we needed to play better than we did the second time, and I think we did that.”
Johnson, the Wolves’ leading scorer, was held largely in check by the Indians (29-7). After scoring six points in the first quarter, he managed just two more free throws, both coming in the fourth.
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“I know I could have played better,” Johnson said. “But what’s important is that we’re going to state.”
Tevin Wofford gave Waxahachie a 21-9 lead early in the second quarter before the Wolves put together a 9-0 run to get back in the game.
Timberview trailed 29-24 at halftime, but scored the first seven points of the second half. First, Chris Mullins hit a 3-pointer before consecutive layups from Isaac Likekele gave the Wolves their first lead of the game at 31-29.
Likekele led Timberview in scoring with 14 and was named the tournament MVP.
The teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 33. Timberview scored the first five points of the period before Waxahachie responded. Mar’qualent Grant’s 3-pointer gave the Indians a 44-42 lead. Grant led all scorers with 19 points.
But Timberview scored the final three points, all from the free throw line. Mullins sank a pair before Johnson swished the game winner.
The Wolves’ defense forced Waxahachie into a contested shot just before the final buzzer that was no good.
Timberview advanced to the state tournament once before, in 2009, losing in the semifinals to Houston Yates.