- Associated Press - Saturday, March 8, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Over the past 30 years, Dallas Kimball had become one of the revered programs in Texas state basketball. With a third state championship in four years, the current generation of Knights earned a mention among the state’s great dynasties as well.

Jawun Evans scored 16 points, Trenton Brinkley scored 15 and Kimball beat Amarillo 52-37 Saturday to win Class 4A yet again. The Knights have played in the state final each of the four years with the only blemish a loss to Rosenberg Terry last season.

“This one feels the best,” said senior D’Angelo Allen, who played in those title games and scored 10 points to go with eight rebounds Saturday.

Kimball has just three seniors and the players didn’t talk about dynasties, Allen said. They just didn’t want to lose in a state final twice in a row.

“We never talked about it. We just talked about getting three (medals). We knew winning would take care of it,” Allen said.

Kimball’s title run is one of the most impressive in recent state tournament history. Dallas South Oak Cliff won four consecutive 4A titles from 2005-2008, but later was stripped of the 2005 and 2006 championships for using ineligible players.

Brinkley scored 11 in the second quarter as Kimball re-established control after Amarillo rallied from a 9-0 deficit in the opening minutes. Kimball (25-7) led by 13 in the fourth before Amarillo got within 43-37 with 1:18 left when John Hood made consecutive 3-pointers.

Kimball finally sealed it on alley-oop dunk on a pass from Jawun Evans to Brinkley with 57 seconds to play.

“He told me one was coming,” Brinkley said. “This was my last game. I had to be ready for it.”

Kimball smothered Amarillo with its speed on defense, closing on open shooters in the blink of an eye and shutting down passing lanes.

“You’d think someone was open and then someone’s there,” Hood said.

Hood led Amarillo (28-6) with 11 points, but Braden Eggleston, who had a double-double in the semifinals with 20 points and 10 rebounds, was just 1 of 3 shooting against Kimball and fouled out late. Amarillo also attempted just three free throws for the entire game, compared to Kimball’s 20.

Amarillo was playing it its first state final since 1986, when Amarillo beat Kimball. That year was also the first time Kimball made the state tournament. The Knights have returned 10 times since then.

Kimball roared to the 9-0 lead in the opening minutes as Derias Johnson made a long 3-pointer and Allen followed it with a dunk. Amarillo shrugged off its bad start with a 12-0 run to the end of the quarter as Hood ignited the rally with a long jumper and a 3-pointer.

Daz Richardson’s steal and layup gave Amarillo a 14-9 lead early in the second. Kimball settled down defensively and Brinkley scored 11 points in the quarter and Kimball retook control. Brinkley converted a 3-point play and had two dunks, and Dondre Carter’s 3-pointer put Kimball up 25-19 at halftime. Brinkley was 5-of-5 shooting in the first half.

“Early on a lot of teams would have folded,” Amarillo coach Jason Pillion said. ” We didn’t have an answer all game (for Brinkley).”

Kimball slowly stretched its lead in the third. Evans started the quarter with consecutive baskets and Allen scored seven in the period. Xavier Johnson pushed Kimball’s lead to 39-26 with a 3-pointer from the left corner at the buzzer.

Hood’s 3-pointers gave Amarillo a slim hope late the fourth. The Sandies had a chance to cut Kimball’s lead to five, but Michael Dawn was stripped of the ball by Evans, who floated the perfect pass to Brinkley for the dunk that put the game away.

“I’m proud of the guys for closing it out with class,” Kimball coach Royce Johnson said.

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