SAN ANTONIO -- Junior Warren Dunn’s free throw with 3.6 to play was the deciding point as Dallas Madison won the 3A Boys UIL State Championship over powerhouse Brock, 49-48, Saturday morning at the Alamodome.
Dunn, a 6-foot-4 junior, was a man-child throughout the game, but especially when Brock’s big man Zane Cook fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Madison’s Jerome Henry won MVP honors for his team-high 14 points. Brock was led by senior point guard Bradon Smith, whose dish to Cooper Allen with less than 20 seconds to play tied the game at 48. Smith finished with 12 points and five assists.
For Madison head coach Damien Mobley, whose team lost 15 games this season, this state title feels extra special.
“There’s been a ton of change these kids have been dealing with this season and for them to hang in there and follow our plan, it feels great,” Mobley said. “We played the Madison Way, which is to play fast, pressure defense, shoot the ball and enjoy the ride.”
The fourth quarter was as good as it gets for a championship round. With less than four minutes to play Madison’s Tavorice Weaver made a nice put back to give the Trojans a five-point lead. Brock’s senior leader took matters in his own hands with a steal to set up a layup and when Ty Duggin made one of two from the line, Brock trailed by two with 52 seconds to play.
“Madison’s pressure really wears on you throughout the game. It causes you to take bad shots or miss open shots,” said Brock head coach Zach Boxell, whose team finished 34-6. “Coming into this one we knew three of their guys were especially dangerous from three. That really came into play early today.”
The noted philosopher Mike Tyson once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Brock resembled that remark after the first few minutes of the game. Madison figuratively buckled the Eagles’ knees thanks to an explosion of fast break buckets and outside bombs. When the flurry finally abated, Brock found itself down 19-4.
But when you figure out a way to win 34 games and your school has made advancing to state championships a habit, you can figure your way from a 15-point deficit. By the end of the first half, Brock had cut the gap to seven thanks to the penetrations of Bradon Smith and the shooting of Cooper Allen. Madison was led in the first half by Jerome Rodgers and Dominique Robinson, who decided to test the strength of the Alamodome rims with a rattling dunk following a steal.
It was the explosive start that Coach Mobley credits as important as that final free throw.
“Honestly I knew we needed to get off to a fast start so Brock couldn’t set the tempo with a lead. Those guys have been No. 1 all year and we’ve been watching how they approach things,” Mobley said. “They do a great job in their sets and controlling the game once they have a lead. We just couldn’t let that happen. Honestly, I was nervous because I thought our guys were a bit too pumped at the start of the game. But the three’s started falling and our pressure worked and we got rolling early just like we wanted.”