The Re-Up Gang
Joe Young: ‘I couldn’t let my team lose. I got up and they were trying to hold me down, so I got up and ran out.’
by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
It’s official: Yates snagged its second straight Texas UIL Class 4A title after felling Lancaster 92-73 Saturday at UT’s Frank Erwin Center.
But don’t let the smooth taste fool you. The final score doesn’t tell the full story. There was plenty of nail-biting drama in the ATX.
The capacity crowd of 16,755—the largest in state tournament history—witnessed the No. 1-ranked Lions (34-0) have their mighty roar muted to a meow by the Tigers (36-3), who were on the topside of the scoreboard at the start of the fourth period with a 65-61 advantage.
Up to that point, the team famous/infamous for stepping on opponents’ necks after serving up an unheard of 170-35 romp of Lee on January 5 hadn’t trailed going into the final period in nearly three months.
Worse, leading scorer Joe Young was molly-whopped while shooting a trey and had to be helped off the court at the 6:21 mark. Trainers told him it was a wrap on PT for the game, but the Providence commit refused to wave the white flag.
“The trainers told me I was done for the game,” Young told the Houston Chronicle. “I couldn’t let my team lose. I got up and they were (trying) to hold me down, so I got up and ran out.”
A-la-Willis Reed (or Paul Pierce circa ’08 for neophytes with televisions who have never been parked on the ESPN Classic Channel), Young shook of the fog, ran back to the court to rapturous applause, checked back into the game with 4:07 remaining and sparked a 21-1 rally down the stretch.
He was wet from deep, nailing back-to-back triples, which rekindled his squad’s swagger and strut while igniting the Yates’ faithful into signature chants of, ‘Ooh, ah, Third Ward High!’
Young was relentless in his quest to re-up at state and so were his teammates. During their furious comeback, the Lion’s caught their second, third and fourth winds and unleashed their unyielding aggressive defense against the out of breath Tigers to bring home their 58th consecutive W.
Head coach Greg Wise is not the kind of man to say, “I told you so,” but the come-from-behind win for the state chip spoke volumes.
“I’ve said all along that we play the way we do to be able to win in the playoffs and you saw that we had to be in that kind of shape to win against Lancaster,” Wise said. “We feel like we’re in better shape than everyone else, so we can come out in the fourth quarter and turn it up a couple notches.”
High-flyer Brandon Peters took home MVP honors after tallying 12 of his game-high 37 points in the fourth quarter, including a sick, crowd-pleasing alley at the 1:50 mark to go up 89-72. The Western Kentucky recruit also had 13 rebounds. Young added 24 points, including 6 from behind the arc and Darius Gardner had 16 points, seven dimes and four thefts.
UTEP signee John Bohannon (center, 6-10) posted a beasty stat line while taking the L: 12 points and 23 boards. Michale Kyser and Tre Lynch each finished with 15 and JJ Williams had 12 for Lancaster.
Now that they’ve come to the end of the road—all five starters are departing seniors—can Yates proclaim to the city, state and nation, “We the Best?”
If what Marcy’s favorite son, Jay-Z, had it right with the saying, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t,” all we have to do is take a look at the facts:
• Yates averaged 116.2 ppg, breaking the national record set in ‘69-70 (114.6)
• They broke the 40-year-old national record for consecutive games over 100 points with 15
• They topped the century mark 21 out of the last 23 contests
• They hit 125 points or higher 13 times
• They hit 140 points six times and 150 points three times
• Their average margin of victory was 50 points
• They compiled a 96-4 record over the last three years and took home two state titles
“Look at our body of work and you’ll see that we’ve done things that no other team has ever done,” Wise said. “This title means a lot because we set out at the beginning of the year at our first practice to prove that we were the best in the country and now we have an argument to say that. What everyone else accomplished doesn’t hold a candle to what we accomplished this year. This one is special for the seniors and also because my best friend and former assistant coach, Charles Phillips, passed before the season because of cancer, so I felt like we were doing this in his name.”
UPDATE: Joe Young was dizzy heading to the bus and had to be admitted to the hospital but was released with a mild concussion and instructed to not do anything for a week. Coach Wise thought he’d been cleared to play when he emerged from the hall in the title game and put him in, not knowing about the trainers wish to keep him off the court. Young was lucid and able to attend church with his coaches and teammates the next morning.
Watch replay of Yates vs. Lancaster here.