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Dallas Kimball runs past Bastrop to region finals

GARLAND, Texas -- Dallas Kimball looked every bit like a team ready to make a run at a state title against Bastrop on Friday, and it did by, well, running.

The Knights weathered an early push by the Bears and turned up the tempo in the second quarter to blow Bastrop out of the playoffs in a 79-49 win at Garland ISD Special Events Center.

Kimball (35-2) advances to face Dallas Lincoln in the Class 4A Region II finals at 3 p.m. Saturday at the same venue.

"We thought if we wore them down and made them go to their bench we'd have some success," Kimball head coach Royce Johnson said.

Point guard Josiah Monroe, who scored a game-high 27 points, dazzled Kimball and the crowd in the first quarter with pin-point shooting and escape moves that resembled those he used as Bastrop's quarterback during the Bears' surprise run through the football playoffs.

He scored 10 in the opening frame in leading Bastrop to 17-10 lead.

But Kimball quickly put a stop to the "oohs" coming from the crowd by bottling up Monroe in the second quarter. Kimball evened the score with a 6-0 run and later took the lead with a 13-3 run. It led 40-31 by halftime.

"We went into a zone defense," Johnson said. "It was tough because when we manned up and trapped him he [Monroe] was drawing fouls. We tried a different defense to try to confuse them a little bit."

Fatigue caught up with Bastrop in the second half as Kimball continued to push the ball down the court. Bastrop scored just nine points in the third quarter and didn't score in the fourth until three minutes into the frame.

Kimball's lead quickly ballooned while Bastrop's offense misfired in the game's furious pace, and backups for the Knights entered the game midway through the fourth.

SMU signee Jalen Jones scored 23 points for Kimball as he took advantage of a vulnerable Bastrop front court. Jordan Williams added 12 after coming off the bench.

"Jalen's had good games recently," Johnson said. "He wanted the ball. He felt like he had a matchup problem."

The win sets up a highly anticipated rematch with Lincoln with a trip to the state tournament on the line. The two teams split two games during the regular season.

"We're not looking at it as Game 3," Johnson said. "The Kimball-Lincoln rivalry won't have anything to do with tomorrow. It's strictly trying to get to Austin. We're trying to get there."