Clear Springs was every bit the equal of District 23-6A champion Pearland Dawson — except in one key area — as the Eagles topped the Chargers, 65-57, in an entertaining Region III-6A bi-district playoff game Tuesday at Phillips Field House.
“You’ve got to make free throws, that’s part of it,” Clear Springs head coach Chris Hairfield said. “My kids gave a good effort. We tried, we fought, and it didn’t go our way. That’s all there is to it.”
An atrocious free throw shooting effort by Clear Springs proved to be a major difference in the game, as the Chargers shot just 7-for-20 at the charity stripe, compared to 20-for-28 shooting for Dawson.
Despite that, the Chargers were still in the game until Dawson pulled away in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Clear Springs trailed just 60-55 after an emphatic Kyle Burt dunk at the 1:20 mark of the period. At that point in the game, though, Clear Springs was 4-for-16 at the free throw line, including 1-for-6 in the fourth quarter.
The game got off to a scintillating back-and-forth start, as Dawson won the first quarter, 15-13, and the quality of play remained high in the second quarter, as well. Dawson held a 33-27 lead at halftime.
Helped by five straight points by big post Lorenzo Waddy, Dawson opened up a 41-30 lead at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter, but Clear Springs answered with an 8-0 run that was capped by a rim-rattling put-back dunk by Terrence Woodson. Dawson took a 45-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
Siblings Faite (20 points) and Marcus (12 points, four rebounds) Williams led Clear Springs. Also getting in the score book were Tylan Jackson (nine points, five rebounds), Christian Waller (nine points), Woodson (five points, four rebounds) and Burt (three points).
Dawson was led by Kristopher Dixon (16 points, seven rebounds, two blocks), Josh Lewis (16 points), Kyle Matthews (12 points, eight rebounds) and Waddy (10 points, 10 rebounds). The Eagles also won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding Clear Springs, 31-19 (including 13-5 in the fourth quarter, scoring multiple second-chance points).