Big time players stand out in big time moments.
That’s what Beaumont United (31-0) head coach told junior Terrance Arceneaux before the 5A state title game Friday night inside the Alamodome.
The four-star prospect seized his moment in the spotlight twice on the biggest stage. The first, was a fallaway 3-pointer from the corner as time expired to send the championship game against Dallas Kimball (26-9) into overtime. The second came with his team trailing by two in the extra period with three seconds left from straight away and a hand in his face. There’s no doubting Arceneaux place as a big-time player and a Beaumont United legend in the making following the team’s 71-70 win in the 5A state championship.
“I knew that if I get it up, I’m confident in my shots,” Arceneaux said. “Coach Green told me to go get the ball, he knew too. So, I know if I got it up, it was either go home or win it like we did.”
Green challenged his team during the game just as he challenged his star forward. Kimball rallied back from down as much as 17 points to take the lead late in the fourth quarter after back-to-back threes from junior Arterio Morris, who finished with a team-high 19 points.
“It looked like we were in control and (Kimball) fought all the way back and made it a game in the end for everybody to enjoy,” Green said. “I have to give it up to them. But when it came to my team, they’ve been doing this all year long, they hadn’t lost a game.”
The Timberwolves’ lead hit the 17-point margin just before halftime, but the Knights closed the period on an 8-0 run that foreshadowed the competitive ending that was to come. Kimball head coach Nicke Smith said his team felt oddly at ease with the deficit. After all, the Knights were dubbed the “comeback kids” after numerous come-from-behind victories in the postseason. The Knights trailed against No. 6 Amarillo, No. 1 Lancaster and No. 18 Frisco Wakeland on their way to the state title game, so this was just another game for Kimball.
“It just got to a point where I just felt my team liked to kind of lull other teams to sleep and make them think that they got us and then we’d come back and turn it up on the defensive end,” Smith said. “We kind of feel them out in the first half and it’s crazy but that’s just the makeup of this team.”
Kimball fed off the high-intensity efforts of Kyron Henderson who recorded 16 rebounds, 11 offensive and five blocks before fouling out in the fourth quarter. United’s defense was forced to ramp up in the second half too. The Timberwolves forced nine turnovers which led to eight points on their end.
“Offense is going to come to us but defense, that’s what matters the most,” United senior Kendris Henry said.
The title is United’s first since it opened following the merger of Beaumont Central and Ozen in 2018.
“We always said it’s on one game…because that’s the only game’s that’s promised” Green said. “They did a good job of finishing, believing and taking it one game at a time. Every time somebody gave us a knockout punch, we knocked them right back and hey they can’t it from us, we’re 31-0.”