AUSTIN, Texas – It was a fun ride.
Denton Ryan’s quest for a Class 4A state championship was railroaded by the juggernaut that is Houston Yates, as the Raiders fell, 87-67, to the Lions in a 4A semifinal Thursday night.
Twelve seconds into the game, Yates’ Clyde Santee drained a 3-pointer. That bucket turned into a 26-15 lead, which eventually turned into a much worse problem for Ryan. By halftime, Yates was cruising, 46-25.
“They got hot early, hitting seven 3s in the first 10 minutes. It was not a good thing for us,” Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet said. “I felt like in the second quarter, we didn’t make the best decisions in transition.
“Their length affected us. We haven’t seen a team this year that possesses an amount of length they have at every position.”
For a while, Ryan (23-12) showed the fight that turned a third-place team out of District 4-4A into the Region I champion. The Raiders’ Marcus Holcomb hit a 3-pointer with roughly 6:30 remaining to trim Yates’ lead to 46-36.
But Yates (33-5) turned on its jets in the fourth quarter and managed to pull away with the play of Clyde Santee, J.C. Washington and Oregon signee Damyean Dotson, in addition to strong defensive play. Ryan’s dream season -- one that included its last three wins by a total of seven points -- was over.
“We knew we had to play four good quarters to be in [the finals] on Saturday,” Yates coach Greg Wise said. “The intensity was there. We knew they only played six or seven guys, and we wanted to make sure we got to them from the beginning.”
Dotson led Yates with 26 points and made 7 of 13 from the 3-point line. Dotson added six rebounds and four assists. Santee had 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and Washington added a double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Holcomb led Ryan with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting. UTSA football signee Trey Mohair added 19 points but made 6 of only 21 attempts. Sam Johnson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Yates, looking to win its third championship in four years, will face Kimball on Saturday afternoon.
Damon Sayles covers Midlands recruiting for ESPN Recruiting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSayles