Dallas Kimball waits out Cedar Park to advance

AUSTIN -- Dallas Kimball head coach Royce Johnson told his team that it could either play smart or play dumb.

With a big lead late and Cedar Park playing timid defense, the players agreed that the smart thing to do was milk the clock.

It didn't play over well with the Cedar Park faithful, but the stall strategy resulted in a 50-36 win Thursday at UT's Frank Erwin Center and moved Kimball within a win of a state title.

Kimball (37-3) advances to play La Marque in the state title game at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"They need the clock, we don't," Johnson said of his strategy. "We came down here for one reason and that was to find a way to get out of here. Saturday we're not going to be able to sneak out. We snuck out tonight."

Cedar Park (22-17) trailed 42-26 going into the fourth quarter and didn't put much pressure on Kimball's ball-handlers. That was just fine with the Knights, who held the ball for two straight minutes midway through the frame while Cedar Park fans booed.

Stalling didn't give Cedar Park a chance to catch up, but nothing in the first three quarters suggested the Timberwolves had it in them anyway.

With the score tied at 18 midway through the second quarter, Kimball ripped off a 10-0 run en route to a 29-22 halftime lead.

"They tried to go with their flow and they got some looks on us, but those looks change when you get a little tired," Johnson said. "We don't play a lot of people but the guys we got out there have good conditioning in their legs."

Cedar Park scored just four points in the third quarter, allowing Kimball to extend its lead to 16 after three quarters.

Spencer Drango almost single-handedly kept Cedar Park in the game with his tough play in the paint. He finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, most of which came in the first half.

"Man that guy was strong," said Kimball forward Jarion Henry, who guarded Drango. "He did a good job and came out good and hard. I had to play lower on him, I couldn't play up on him. He had me on the upper body, so I had to play low. He did a good job. I wish the best of luck to him in college."

Jalen Jones was the offensive spark for Kimball, finishing with 19 points while Austin Franklin added 14. Jordan Williams, one of the leading scorers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, finished with just two points but had 11 rebounds.