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Gar. Lakeview falls flat in 5A title game

Sheldon Esdelle-Blackburn and Garland Lakeview Centennial couldn't get past Fort Bend Bush. AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

AUSTIN, Texas -- The fast-break offense that guided Garland Lakeview Centennial through the playoffs ground to a halt against Fort Bend Bush on Saturday.

With Bush forcing it to play a half-court game, Lakeview's shot went cold and Bush made a late run to escape with a 65-58 win the Class 5A state title game at UT's Frank Erwin Center.

"We knew they wanted to get up and down," said Bush coach Ronnie Courtney. "We made them play defense for 15 or 20 seconds. That kills what they really want to do. Fortunately we were able to get points off our offense. It eliminated them getting down the floor real fast."

Lakeview (33-4) held numerous leads in the fourth quarter before Bush (35-4) took control midway through the frame. UT-Arlington signee Darius Richardson helped spark a 10-2 run by scoring six consecutive points that left his team with an insurmountable 61-52 lead.

Richardson was named the game's MVP. He finished with 25 points and seven rebounds.

Along with fellow UTA signee Jordan Clark, who scored 20 points with 11 rebounds, Richardson consistently found holes in Lakeview's press, scoring in transition and driving to the hoop for easy buckets.

Conversely, Lakeview got nothing going from an offense that lit up opponents in the regular season and playoffs alike. The Patriots shot just 31.4 percent from the field, and the team's leading scorer during the season, Toddrick Gotcher, finished with seven points.

"We had to shorten the game," Courtney said. "If we don't shorten the game and it gets to 80, we don't win."

Ryan Williams paced Lakeview with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Chris Jones added 19 points, and Chris Copeland scored 12.

Despite the rough shooting night, Lakeview was in the game until Bush's final push. Neither team could separate itself from the other until the Patriots closed the third quarter with a 10-2 run that left them eight minutes away from a state title.

Richardson and Clark took over from there.

"They got us in a slow-down game," said Lakeview head coach Tony Mauldin. "When they're playing more of a half-court game, you have to get shots. We missed our shots."