SGP blows by Hebron to reach region tourney

COLLEYVILLE, Texas -- At a hulking 6-8, Chris Washburn is the prototypical inside player who can battle in the paint for easy buckets and tough rebounds.

But the senior's passing ability has become one of the most important aspects of his game for South Grand Prairie.

That was the case against Hebron on Tuesday. With the Hawks collapsing on the UTEP signee every time he touched the ball, Washburn dished it outside to his guards, whose sharpshooting guided the Warriors to a convincing 67-49 win in front of a ruckus crowd at Colleyville Heritage High School.

South Grand Prairie (34-2) advances to play El Paso Hanks in the Class 5A Region I semifinals.

"Every team we play, they triple-team him and quadruple-team him," said South Grand Prairie head coach Brandon Bennett of Washburn. "Whenever he gets that, he passes the ball. He's not a selfish kid. It opens things up for our guards. It's happened all year."

Hebron (23-11) came into the game giving up just 51 points per game but did little to slow down a potent Warriors offense.

After struggling in a man defense in the first quarter, the Hawks switched to a box 1 defense that didn't give Washburn much room to work, but it created plenty of space for his teammates.

Guards Jayrn Johnson and Jovan Austin scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, while forward Tyler Jacobs added 13. And Washburn was still able to get in on the action at the end. He threw down three consecutive emphatic dunks in the final two minutes to ice the game and finish with eight points.

"That's been happening all year," Austin said of Washburn. "He just looks for other people. He knows that's going to happen every game. He does what he can. We have other guys that step up."

The Warriors jumped out to an 8-2 lead behind a hot start by Jacobs and led by 10 by the end of the first quarter.

That lead only increased in the second quarter, and Austin's scoring barrage at the end of the frame gave South Grand Prairie a 33-19 halftime lead.

Hebron trailed by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter but made a late push to cut South Grand Prairie's lead to 14, but Washburn's trio of easy dunks in the waning minutes ignited the crowd and sealed the victory.

South Grand Prairie has looked every bit like a team ready to contend for a state title. In their three playoff games, the Warriors have won by an average of 24 points.

"I think we're playing really good, but we can get better," Bennett said. "We can protect the ball better. We can close out games better. We're going to keep working on it but we're playing pretty dang good right now."