Clear Creek takes down Cypress Lakes en route to regional final matchup with Clear Lake
Separated by just six miles, Clear Creek and Clear Lake are full of kids who have grown up playing basketball against one another. On Saturday afternoon only one group of them will get to celebrate the one thing they've always talked about.
Going to state.
Clear Creek's thrilling last-second victory over Cypress Lakes Friday night capped a stirring evening and extended to two days an event that Clear Creek ISD basketball fans will remember forever.
Clear Lake and Clear Creek will meet in the Region 3-6A championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Campbell Center. Clear Lake gave Clear Creek an opportunity to make the dream match-up come true by defeating Sam Houston, 68-53, in the first semifinal Friday night. Clear Creek beat Cy Lakes, 75-73.
Exasperated after watching his team score the winning points with one second to go, Clear Creek coach Wes Bryan laughed off a question about whether his team would be ready to play after such short turnaround.
"I think we all know who we play," Bryan said. "I think the roof is going to blow off of this place tomorrow."
After building a 20-point lead in the first quarter Clear Creek had to rally from a four-point deficit in the final minute. Jared Evans' three-point play tied it with 34 seconds to go. Cy Lakes (26-9) tried to hold for the final shot but never got that opportunity.
Clear Creek's Karlin Humphrey stole the ball from Nick Garth at mid-court and then spun to find Xavier Ferrell all alone for the winning lay-up with one second remaining. Bryan said he was not surprised Humphrey made that play because he is the best on-the-ball defender he has seen at the high school level.
"I knew they were doing the dribble weave. I decided to jump it. Luckily it worked," Humphrey said. "My teammates rely on me for defense. I wanted to make a play because I know defense wins championships."
Humphrey's play ended Cy Lakes' hopes, even though the Spartans looked to have the game in hand in the final mintue. De'Aaron Fox scored 32 points and Garth 20.
Evans led Clear Creek (33-3) with 22 points. A.J. Sparks added 18 and Tyquon Jordan 16.
Clear Lake's victory was nowhere near as dramatic. The Falcons (33-2) led by four points at the start of the fourth quarter and cruised over the final eight minutes. Orion Lewis led Clear Lake with 22 points.
Clear Lake coach Tommy Penders led Angleton to the regional title in 2006, but none of his current players have played on a stage this big.
"It sounds cliche to say it's another game. It's not," Penders said. "The team that is the most focused and does all the little things down the stretch, like rebound, get to the foul line and do everything with two hands is going to come out victorious."