ROCKDALE — It had become second nature for Cedar Park to advance to the Area round, but Tuesday night, that streak came to an end.
The Timberwolves couldn’t hold on to upset Brenham in the first round, falling to the Cubs 43-40. Brenham took the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter and forced turnovers to put the game out of reach. The Timberwolves end the year 15-15 overall and 10-6 in District 19-5A.
“It hurts in the moment that we lost this game, but we don’t have anything to be ashamed of,” Cedar Park head coach Blake Brown said. “This group has come so far and I’m so proud of them. Especially with some of the things we did tonight and throughout the season.”
Tanner Radke led the way for the Timberwolves with 15 points and Luke Ferony chipped in with eight points. Cameron Hunt added five points while Karson Cater, Eric Weeks, and Ryan Spyker scored four points apiece.
Cedar Park played the entire season without reigning district MVP Keaton Hervey, who was sidelined with a foot injury. As a junior, he averaged 23.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. The three-star recruit will play at Incarnate Word in San Antonio next season.
But the loss of Hervey didn’t diminish the team’s goals.
“Not having Keaton in there, they wanted to prove what they could do and they did some amazing things,” Brown said. “They were an easy group to work with. Coaching can be difficult sometimes, but not with these guys.”
The Timberwolves started the game hot, scoring 16 points in the first quarter, led by Radke with seven points, and jumped out to a six-point lead. But the Cubs bounced back in the second and outscored the Timberwolves 12-10 to cut the lead to four points at the break.
It took nearly three minutes for either team to score in the second half when Radke hit a jumper. Both teams made a few free throws in the quarter and combined to score just 10 points in the period.
Brenham went on an 8-2 run to start the fourth to take its first lead of the second half with just over four minutes left. Cedar Park forced a couple turnovers that led to buckets to keep the game close with under two minutes left.
Radke hit a jumper to give Cedar Park the lead with under a minute to play, but the Cubs came right back down and nailed a floater to regain the lead with 10 seconds left. Hunt’s jumper on the ensuing possession missed and Brenham rebounded the ball with .4 seconds left to seal the win.
“Brenham wants to thrive off the turnover,” Brown said. “Some of those passes we make against a little lesser of an opponent. We had our chances to put them away. We missed too many easy shots and didn’t take advantage of some of their lapses in defense.”
The Timberwolves made it to the playoffs for the eighth straight year and 10th time in the last 11 seasons. A win Tuesday night would have been the seventh straight bi-district title for Cedar Park.
“Obviously people want to be associated with success and we’ve had our fair share of it,” Brown said. “We’ll start a new streak next year. It was a great effort by all of our coaches and players. It was a fun group to work with. I wish I could do it all over again.”
In other action LISD boys action, Vista Ridge and Leander lost, while Rouse moved on to the second round. The Rangers fell 56-54 to San Antonio Roosevelt at Seguin High School and the Lions lost 52-35 to San Antonio Reagan at New Braunfels High School.
The Raiders beat Tomball 57-52 at Hearne High School. They will face Nacogdoches, which beat College Station 47-41 in the first round Monday night, in the area round later this week. The time and location are yet to be determined.
Rouse saw its girls’ team move on to the Regional Finals with a 43-39 win against College Station at Brenham High School. Taylor Douthitt and Emily Schalible each scored 10 points, Jennifer Parker added nine points and Zoe Holmes chipped in with seven points.
The Lady Raiders will take on Barbers Hill on Friday or Saturday for a trip to the state tournament.