Brock’s Garrett Leek, right, looks for room around Bowie defender Keck Jones during a playoff game in Saginaw, Feb. 27, 2017. Lance Winter lwinter@star-telegram.com
Brock’s Garrett Leek, right, looks for room around Bowie defender Keck Jones during a playoff game in Saginaw, Feb. 27, 2017. Lance Winter lwinter@star-telegram.com

Boys Basketball

Unexpected early 2016 playoff loss drives Brock players this time

By Rick Mauch

Special to the Star-Telegram

March 07, 2017 03:23 PM

UPDATED March 07, 2017 04:19 PM

BROCK

For the Brock Eagles basketball team, the pain from a year ago has turned to inspiration that now has them two victories from the school’s fourth UIL state championship.

The defending 2015 champions were stunned in 2016 with first-round playoff loss to Dallas Oak Cliff Faith Family 45-43 on a 3-pointer as time expired.

“It definitely hurt,” said Taylor Perry, a reserve on the 2015 team and one of four returning starters from a year ago. “But the day after, everyone was in the gym getting ready for this season.”

The sting of that loss provided fuel for the Eagles (29-8), who will play Jarrell (33-3) in Thursday’s 3 p.m. Class 3A semifinal at the San Antonio Alamodome. The other semifinal, at 1:30 p.m., is Dallas Madison (26-8) versus Santa Rosa (34-3). The championship is Saturday at 10 a.m.

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When that shot went in, it was tough. But now it makes us want to push ourselves even harder.

Senior starter Matt Thornton, on the 2016 first-round playoff loss

“When that shot went in, it was tough,” said fellow senior starter Matt Thornton, also a reserve in 2015. “But now it makes us want to push ourselves even harder.”

Brock is one of a record four area boys teams to advance to state. The others are Keller, Justin Northwest and Mansfield Timberview.

The Eagles take a 17-game winning streak into the 3A semifinals. Their last loss was 58-54 to Bowie in December. Bowie is coached by Doug Boxell, father of Brock coach Zach Boxell.

Brock won state titles in 2015, 2003 and 2002

Brock defeated the Bowie Jackrabbits 58-55 in a regional quarterfinals rematch.

Now, the Eagles hope to do the same against Jarrell, a team that beat the Eagles 58-53 in late December.

“Most teams I’ve been fortunate enough to go to the state tournament with go through those skids, but they stayed focused,” said Zach Boxell, who coached Nazareth to state titles in 2007 and 2010.

“Once we went to Peaster (a third-round playoff team) in the second round of district and won (52-42), I knew we were playing to the ability we wanted going into the playoffs.”

Eagles soar

State titles: 2015, 2003, 2002

Other state tournament appearances: 2013, 2012, 2001, 1997, 1993, 1992, 1973