In a game in which neither team could corral the momentum or put the dagger in a weakened opponent, it was District 5-4A-leading Trophy Club Nelson down two points with 10 seconds remaining Wednesday.
As soon as Adarian Harris’ second free throw dropped to give Denton the 51-49 advantage, the visiting Bobcats raced down the floor. With Denton scrambling to recover on defense, a quick, long pass found its way to Jack Nobles for a game-tying layup to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Nelson edged the Broncos 15-3 to take a 66-54 victory in the final game of the regular season.
“We were actually trying to find the best available shot, and we were able to get AD in a favorable matchup,” Denton coach Harold Jackson said. “He was able to take it to the basket. He got fouled and was able to make both his free throws, but we just didn’t get the stop on the other end when we needed to.”
More Harris free throws got the Broncos within a point at 55-54 midway through overtime, but the Bobcats dealt with Denton’s imposing trap game and won the game at the line.
With Fort Worth Brewer defeating Guyer 39-33 on Wednesday, Nelson (23-7, 12-2 district) secured the outright 5-4A championship.
Denton (8-14, 7-7) will meet with at least one other team to flip for seeding for the fourth-place spot, as Brewer’s victory gave it third place.
The Broncos held a 37-29 lead heading into the final quarter and a 44-35 lead after Harris’ conventional three-point play with 5:08 remaining, but Denton turnovers and solid defense by the Bobcats allowed them to creep back into the game.
“I thought my kids played really hard,” Jackson said. “I thought they fought really hard, but down the stretch I thought Byron Nelson made more plays than we did, and obviously they made the last play to send it into overtime. It was anybody’s game. It’s just who made the last play, and they had the ball last.”
Only able to muster five points in the first half with Nelson’s defense keyed in on him, Harris put his team on his back with 17 points in the second half to finish with a team-high 22.
“I just thought he elevated his energy,” Jackson said. “He started rebounding, and I thought that was where the majority of his points started came from. He started being active around the glass.”
On senior night, the Broncos came out inspired on defense and took a 11-4 lead. The Bobcats then turned the tables on Denton with their own defensive effort. The Bobcats erased their seven-point deficit two minutes into the second and stormed to a 20-14 halftime advantage, as Emmanuel Nzekwesi’s bucket capped a 13-point half on the way to a game-high 25 points.
Trophy Club Nelson 66, Denton 54
Trophy Club Nelson
Bryon Nelson (23-7, 12-2) — Emmanuel Nzekwesi 25, Thomas Williams 11, Kadeem Ellington 10, Jack Nobles 9, J.T. Taylor 6, Ethan Davis 4, Brandson Dale 1.
Denton (8-14, 7-7) — Adarian Harris 22, Deamonte Hughes 12, Curtis Stevenson 7, Zac Muthiani 4, Emerson Espinoza 3, Keyandre Hearvey 2, Deandre Coleman 2, Edson Vasquez 2.