LA MARQUE – After a foul by Washington’s Kendrix Dillard, Anthony Shinette needed a moment to refocus his attention to the task that fate placed upon him Monday night.
All that was at hand was simply La Marque’s 2013-14 season.
Refocusing paid off as Shinette hit both free throws with less than a second remaining that allowed the Cougars to fend off Booker T. Washington, 59-57, in a Class 3A, Region III bi-district round game.
“It was everything around me,” Shinette said of the distractions that threatened his focus. “I just did what coach (David Montano) told me to do.”
La Marque (19-12) will now face West Orange-Stark in the area round.
The Cougars were in position for Shinette’s shining moment after Washington’s James Pierce knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 57 with 48 seconds remaining.
La Marque then took the ball and let the clock wind down, setting the stage for Shinette, who drove to the basket before being hammered by Dillard with :0.27 left.
“Usually before a game, we practice the end of the game,” said Montano. “We usually have a mindset of what we want to do and how we’re going to do it, especially since they were in the double bonus. We felt like we were going to take the last shot.”
La Marque led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter before settling for a 34-29 halftime lead.
The Eagles (17-13) tooka brief lead early in the fourth quarter, 46-44, but the Cougars regained control of the game with an 11-5 run that gave them a 55-51 advantage with 1:26 remaining. Pierce scored Washington’s final six points to tie the game and set up Shinette’s clutch free throws.
“We’re not ready to go home just yet,” said Shinette, who had 18 points and two assists.
Michael Hardeman led La Marque with 21 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Raymond Stubblefield added 10 points and nine boards.
Pierce led all scorers with 29 points, while Xavier McGee added 12 for Washington.
Boys playoffs games
Clear Springs vs. FB Travis, 6 p.m. at Manvel High School
Clear Falls vs. FB Bush, 8 p.m. at Manvel High School
Clear Creek vs. FB Elkins, 8 p.m. at Dawson High School
Texas City vs. George Ranch, 6 p.m. at Pearland High School
Ball High vs. Angleton, 8 p.m. at Pearland High School
Friendswood vs. FB Terry, 6 p.m. at Stafford High School
Girls playoffs games
Clear Springs vs. Pearland, 6 p.m. at Clear Lake High School
Friendswood vs. Goose Creek, 8 p.m., at Phillips Fieldhouse in Pasadena