HOUSTON — It was a game of chess on a basketball court in the final moments Wednesday night.
Cypress Woods wound the clock down of nearly 45 seconds with the game tied before attempting a an ally-opp that couldn’t be finished. But a putback with 2.9 seconds left ultimately did the trick.
The Woodland an a final attempt in the half-court but didn’t get a 3-pointer off on time as the Wildcats advance to the Region II-6A quarterfinals on a 39-37 victory Wednesday at Klein Cain High School.
The area championship is Cy Woods’ first since 2014 while The Woodlands season ends in the second round for the first time since 2018.
Cy Woods coach Chris Draudt was proud of seniors like Damien Watson and Trevor Passmore, who’ve been around since they were freshman and as well as three-year players like Pierce Mathews and Charles Haubein, who had the winning bucket, for sticking around to have a season like this.
“We knew we had talent and this was something we’ve been building to,” Draudt said. “They had a big time goal. I’m proud of them and we’re excited.”
Later this week, Cy Woods (21-3) will face Thursday’s winner between Cy Lakes (11-2) and Aldine Davis (18-7). That game is slated for 6 p.m. at Cy Falls High School.
For the second time in three nights, The Woodlands (21-8) battled from behind. But head coach Dale Reed knew his team had it in them to rally.
Against Spring in the bi-district round, the Highlanders trailed by 16 points in the third quarter. On Wednesday, they were down 10 points with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
The Woodlands was playing against Cy Woods because of the buzzer-beating 3-pointer by sophomore Shey Eberwein against the Lions to cap the comeback.
“I knew we had a group of guys that would fight until the very end and I knew we would give ourselves a chance,” Reed said.
The Woodlands started the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run, including a putback by Brock Luechtefeld.
With 2:10 left, Luechtefeld made a nice move to the hoop to tie the game at 35-all. A drive to the bucket by Cy Woods’ Matthews with 1:43 left put the Wildcats back up two.
Eberwein made a pair of free throws with 31.8 left to tie the game again.
After Haubein made his putback, The Woodlands drew up a sideline play to cross the timeline and call time out.
On the final play with 1.3 seconds left, the ball was meant to go to Monday’s hero Eberwein, but instead went to second option Luechtefeld, who just couldn’t get a shot off in time.
“Their kid did a good job sticking on to Shey and made it hard to pass to him,” Reed said. “Brock just tried to make a play there at the end. Obviously it wasn’t the shot we wanted to get. But again, our guys were resilient and just tried to give it a chance.”
Tough defense was key for The Woodlands, especially early in the fourth quarter when it forced five turnovers to get back in contention.
“Our defensive effort was just totally off the charts,” Reed said. “That’s a 70-point average team that we held to 39.”
Draudt also remarked on The Woodlands’ defensive effort.
“They really just defended the heck out of us,” he said.
The Highlanders had quality chances in the paint and good looks from long range earlier, but struggled finishing as the Wildcats led from the 6:50 mark of the first quarter through halftime.
The Woodlands shot just 5 for 21 in the first half with just a pair of 3-pointers made in the second quarter to keep pace.
Off a near turnover, the Highlanders gathered the ball and found Isaiah Brown in the corner for a 3-pointer at the 3:52 mark...the first field goal of the quarter.
Hagen Byerly then made a 3-pointer with a couple ticks on the clock before halftime as The Woodlands trailed 23-17 at the break.
“Offensively, things were hard for us obviously with the score,” Reed said. “But the way we just kept at it, the way we just kept fighting away, I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Passmore led Cy Woods with 13 points on the night while Haubein had 12.
Cy Woods enters the third round on a seven-game winning streak. It topped Klein Oak in the bi-district round last Saturday.
“We’ve been fortunate to do it before, but it’s obviously been a number of years,” Draudt said. “These kids weren’t a part of that. It’s been a four-year build with these guys.”
Brown had 11 for the Highlanders while Luechtefeld had nine. Kylan Williams made a couple key 3-pointer in the third quarter and totaled eight.
Luechtefeld, Byerly, Brown, Williams, Cade Moore and David Omokwale all graduate. Reed remarked on their careers as well as a couple juniors in John O’Connor and Justin Sheldon who were out.
“Just so proud of our program and the seniors,” Reed said. “Shey being a sophomore in hard he battled to prove himself. Every guy on our roster (worked hard).”