Eugene Wright and five of his teammates on Rosenberg Terry’s basketball team came up short on the football field a few months ago. On Saturday, they’ll get a chance to go out as champions.
Wright scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds Thursday in a 46-33 victory over Arlington Heights in a Class 4A state semifinal at the Erwin Center. Rosenberg Terry will now face Dallas Kimball for a state championship, 14 weeks after the school’s football team was beaten by Manor in the third round of the 4A, Division II playoffs.
“We knew that this was our last shot to do something big and leave high school with history and a legacy,” said Wright, who rushed for 1,300 yards this fall but will shift to wide receiver next season at Stephen F. Austin.
Rosenberg Terry (30-9) scored the game’s first seven points, and the Rangers took a 22-20 lead into halftime. They built a halftime lead despite receiving only seven minutes of playing time from the foul-plagued Derrick Griffin, a 6-foot-7-inch forward who has signed to play football and basketball at the University of Miami.
The Rangers extended their lead to 32-27 by the end of the third quarter, but with 53 seconds to play in the period, Griffin picked up his fourth foul. He sat out half of the fourth quarter, but his teammates were able to keep the Yellow Jackets from getting closer than five points.
“I thought they did an amazing job,” Griffin said. “They were playing like I was in the game.”
Senior forward Billy White, the only Rosenberg Terry starter who was not on the school’s football team, led the Rangers with 13 points. The 5-9 Wright was Rosenberg Terry’s other double-digit scorer, and the Rangers’ second-shortest player led both teams in rebounds.
Wright’s reaction to his 12 rebounds?
“I’ve very surprised,” he said.
Arlington Heights (23-11) was led by center A’Shawn Robinson, a 6-6 senior who was booed after he walked off the court before the postgame medal ceremony. Robinson scored 17 points, but foul trouble limited the Alabama football recruit to two points in the second half.
Dallas Kimball 64, SA Brennan 52: Class 4A’s two-time defending champion took out the classification’s top-ranked team.
Keith Frazier and Gabe Lilly each scored 18 points as Dallas Kimball (23-9) topped San Antonio Brennan (39-3).
Kimball held a 32-26 advantage at halftime despite getting only five points from Frazier, a McDonald’s All-American honoree. He added 10 points in the third quarter, and Kimball pulled away in the fourth.
San Antonio Brennan, which missed 15 of its 16 three-point attempts, was led by senior guard John Azzinaro’s game-high 25 points.