While Dallas Kimball's loss to South Oak Cliff in the final game of the regular season might have cost the Knights the district title, it was key in their regional quarterfinal win over Dallas Woodrow Wilson on Tuesday, coach Royce Johnson said.
Kimball ended the ESPN Dallas 4A boys No. 4 team's season 56-44 at Sprague Field House -- the same venue that housed the Knights' final loss to South Oak Cliff.
"Playing in that environment helped our guys this time because Woodrow, I think, kind of got caught up with the crowd in the second half," Johnson said. "Being able to deal with it came down to us wanting to be able to move on to the regionals."
Kimball standout Keith Frazier impressed his coach with his ability to work through double and triple teams throughout the game, allowing senior guard Shannon Lilly to thrive in the open space, Johnson said.
Lilly lead his team in scoring with 11 points as he has begun to come alive in the playoffs after a stale regular season.
"Shannon was like the little brother to all the guys who went to college and now he's home by himself and it's tough," Johnson said. "He made a name for himself last year in the playoffs, and he knew with as average as he played in the year, he knew he could fix that with having a good playoffs."
Two Kimball players made big contributions in their coach's eyes after returning to the lineup from academic ineligibility. D'Angelo Allen set his defensive target on Woodrow's scoring threat in the post, Zach Coleman, and did what he could to control the big man and the Wildcats' offense, including a few blocked shots.
Johnson also said Torrey Henry had a breakout game after returning to the team from grade ineligibility.
Kimball advances to the regional tournament to face Manor at 6 p.m. Friday at Garland's Special Events Center, but it's the game plan within his team that has Johnson's focus right now.
"Right now, we're focused on things we need to work on with us," Johnson said. "We'll figure out Manor later."