Duncanville came in on a mission. It was a year ago that Duncanville and other teams came to the state tournament with the goal of winning it all. Only to have their game postponed and later canceled due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Fast forward a year with several key pieces still in place from the previous team, the Panthers wanted to finish what they started. A chance to win yet another championship. Duncanville comes in with SMU signee Zurich Phelps who is a special talent, but he has a strong supporting cast in Damon Nicholas (Sam Houston St.) and guard Juan Reyna(Alabama St) ’23 Ron Holland and ’22 C Ford.
The game was a rematch from an earlier matchup in the season against Austin Westlake who had the same goal in mine. With a team loaded with seniors featuring KJ Adams a University of Kansas signee, Cade Mankle (Colorado School of Mines) and point guard Eain Mowat who has been a starter for the last several years gave Westlake hopes of winning their own championship.
Both teams came out a little slow missing some easy shots and free throws, possibly due to some early big game jitters. As each team struggled to get into a rhythm offensively they resorted to getting to simple in their approach; attack the rim and get some easy ones to go in. This helped settle things down a bit although there wasn’t much scoring as it was a 1 point game 11-10 at the end of 1.
In the 2nd qtr it was much of the same but this quarter some of the headliners got it going. Austin Westlake chose to go the route that got them here and that was KJ Adams making plays inside and out. Trying to get something to fall KJ started to attack the interior of the Duncanville defense and score at the rim. When the defense collapsed he was able to find ’22 Preston Clark for a 3 in the left corner and ’21 wing Cade Mankle for a couple of buckets to keep it close.
For Duncanville Zurich Phelps got himself going in the right direction. Using his athletic ability to get by defenders and finish in traffic at the rim. His defensive intensity picked up as well causing several turnovers to lead to scores. With this effort and a deep 3 from Reyna to end the half Duncanville lead 23-20.
In the 3rd qtr both teams came out and played a little cleaner scoring 14 pts each. Adams for Westlake getting more involved. He was able to get touches in multiple spots and made them count for the most part. He also got some help from Mankle (15 pts). Mankle who is heading to Colorado School of Mines helped stretch the defense with his long range ability. Displaying a quick release bothered the Panthers defense some.
For Duncanville it was more of the same from Phelps( Game high 29 pts). He consistently stayed in attack mode in ball screen or in iso situations. Every time it appeared Westlake was about to take the momentum Phelps made a play. Playing with loads of confidence he seemingly willed his team during tough stretches.
Playing to a standstill going into the 4th it was going to come down to what stars would take control and be more consistent down the stretch. Neither team shot it particularly well all game so it was Duncanville’s defensive intensity that pushed Westlake’s offense out quite a bit that caused some problems. This lead to several traveling violations or steals leading to buckets. The lead for Duncanville stretched to as much as 9, but Westlake would not go away. They were able to get some interior contributions from ’22 Nehikari Igiehon, ’22 Preston Clark and ’21 Cade Mankle continued his solid play. Adams( 20 pts) was more aggressive and had several rebounds and put backs. This kept it close. With the game still tight Westlake’s Adams missed a 3pt attempt that would have cut it to 1 and that’s when Duncanville’s supporting cast got involved. ’21 Juan Reyna (15 pts) hit a couple deep ones, but the defensive pressure lead to key baskets by ’23 Ron Holland and a huge and 1 by Damon Nicholas. This helped seal the game as Juan Reyna capped off a historic run by Duncanville with a 3 in the left corner as time expired. Duncanville had come back after a long year of waiting to win their 3rd consecutive championship. Coach David Peavy at the end of the game said “ We knew Westlake would be tough; We really made it hard on ourselves missing a lot of shots and making some dumb errors but we played through it and I’m proud of our guys. They played hard”. DUNCANVILLE 66 AUSTIN WESTLAKE 53