Dawson takes out Clear Springs; falls to Deer Park

PEARLAND — The Dawson Eagles captured the District 23-6A crown this season and advanced to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. The Eagles have shared or won outright the district title for seven straight years under the guidance of head coach Mark Barre who has been at the helm of the Eagles since the school opened in 2007.

Dawson faced Clear Springs who entered the post-season as the No. 4 seed from District 24-6A.

Because of the strong league competition from 24-6A, Barre wasn't going to take the Chargers for granted as he knew they would be a tough team to beat.

Sure enough, the game turned out as a real battle as the Chargers came to play.

"This was a monster game – it was like a knockout game," Barre said. "Springs has some guys that can play. Guys on both teams were just exhausted.

"That felt like a third-round game. It was just a grind from start to finish."

Dawson took the first quarter 15-13 as the Eagles got two key 3-pointers from Kyle Matthews in the period.

The Eagles led 30-22 in the second quarter until the Chargers closed out the period with a 5-3 run making the score at intermission 33-27 in favor of Dawson.

Dawson hit five 3-pointer in the first half and was 8-of-13 from the free throw line.

Clear Springs battled back in the third 13-12 to cut the margin to 45-40 entering the final stanza.

Dawson led 41-30 before the Chargers came back 10-4 to narrow the lead to five points.

The final period was the strongest offensively for both teams as the Eagles edged the Chargers 20-18.

After Clear Springs closed the gap to 51-48, Dawson went on a 7-0 run that would prove to be the difference in the game at 58-48 with 3:40 left in the contest.

Dawson used the charity stripe to maintain the lead going 12-of-15 at the line in the second half while the Chargers faltered at the stripe missing eight in the second half, six in the final quarter leaving them short on the scoreboard 65-58 at the buzzer.

The Eagles were led by Kris Dixon and Josh Lewis who both scored 16 points. Lorenzo Waddy and Matthews tossed in 10 each. Deer Park 46 - Dawson 40

There is an old saying that offense wins games and free throws win championships. Deer Park proved that to be true in their 46-40 win over the Dawson Eagles in the 6A Region III area round basketball playoffs.

Free throws proved to be the difference down the stretch in a game that didn't see much offense in the first half.

Both teams struggled to find a basket in the opening quarter as the Deer held a slim 10-4 lead until Kyle Matthews hit a 3-pointer before the end of the period to bring Dawson within 10-7.

But it got worse in the second quarter as both teams managed only four points each as shots bounced off the goal at both ends of the court leaving Deer Park with a 14-11 halftime lead.

The start of the third quarter saw the Deer go on an 11-0 run making the score 25-11 before Dawson finally scored on a Josh Lewis 3-pointer to close the gap to 25-14.

The Eagles could manage only two more buckets by Kris Dixon as the Deer built a 30-18 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

It looked like that Dawson would limp out of the South Houston High School gym with a big loss, but coach Mark Barre's hard-court warriors weren't going down without a fight.

As Deer Park was trying to hold on to get the win, Dawson scored on a flurry of five 3-pointers and all of a sudden, the Eagles had closed the gap to 33-30 including a 7-0 run to cut into the double-digit lead with 4:00 minutes left in the game.

With 20.6 seconds left in the game, Lewis hit again from the outside to trim the margin to 40-38 and the Eagles cut the led to a one possession game.

But Deer Park used a 10-for-10 free throw performance down the stretch to pull out the 46-40 win.

"We needed every one of those. Every one of them because they were making some unbelievable shots. But what a way to put a game away," said Deer Park head coach Darren Chandler, whose club finished 17-of-22 from the foul line for 77 percent, up from 58 percent prior to the final 62 seconds.

Lewis finished with 12 points while Dixon tossed in 11 for Dawson.