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Win returns Gar. Lakeview Centennial to finals

(Box score from the UIL)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Jamarlas "Tez" Demas epitomized his team's win over San Antonio Taft on Friday.

Almost everything the Garland Lakeview Centennial guard threw up went in.

Such was the night for Lakeview Centennial, which shot 60 percent from both the field and from 3-point range en route to a dominating 87-77 win in the state semifinals at UT's Frank Erwin Center.

The Patriots (37-1) advance to their second consecutive state title game. They play Flower Mound Marcus at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Since last year, since we lost in the finals, we've been talking about coming back here," Demas said.

Demas' shooting performance was as impressive as any at the state tournament so far. He went 7-for-11 from the field and hit on all five of his 3-point attempts, finishing with 21 points.

"He missed some inside shots," Lakeview Centennial head coach Tony Mauldin said of Demas. "I told him 'Back up and shoot them outside. Don't drive to the hole.'"

But plenty of Patriots got in on the scoring. Point guard Chris Jones finished with a game-high 24 in addition to tossing five assists. Toddrick Gotcher scored 13 and Bryan Lipsey scored 11.

Demas opened the scoring for Lakeview Centennial with his first 3-pointer, and the Patriots got going quickly from there.

A 19-3 run that extended late into the second quarter gave the Patriots a 28-11 lead that it maintained for most of the game.

Taft (34-6) managed to close the gap in the fourth quarter while Lakeview Centennial lost interest in a game it led by as many as 23.

Although Taft plays four guards, the Patriots had no trouble generating turnovers with their press defense. They forced 18 and scored 22 points off of them.

"We spend a lot of effort and time working on the press and it pays off," Mauldin said. "You can always tell when people don't face that kind of pressure. People say 'You can't press this group because they have good guards,' and they do."

To win the state title, Lakeview Centennial will have to beat a team that plays differently from Taft in Flower Mound Marcus, which plays suffocating defense and uses a methodical and patient half-court offense.

"They play a half-court game, we play an up-tempo full press so it will be a contrast of styles," Mauldin said of Marcus.