Late spectacle ends short of victory, killing Cowboys season (With video)


Lilly Gorman

Coppell junior point guard Anthony Black shoots against Lake Highlands junior forward Adam Lopez at Loos Sports Complex in Addison on Feb. 25. Black announced his decision to commit his future to basketball over the weekend at the War Before The Storm tournament in the Advantage Sports Complex in Carrollton.

Meer Mahfuz, Co-Sports Editor

DALLAS- The clock read four minutes and the Cowboys were trailing Lake Highlands by 11. The Coppell student section had gone quiet and the parents looked displeased. But three layups from Coppell junior guard Ryan Agarwal in addition to one layup and two free throws from junior guard Anthony Black meant the Cowboys only trailed by one with 30 seconds left to play.

The rally would fall short as Lake Highlands ended Coppell’s season with a 53-50 victory in the Class 6A area playoffs Thursday night at Loos Sports Complex.

In the final minutes with Coppell mounting a comeback, both crowds came alive, cheering and screaming at the top of their lungs with Lake Highlands supporters screaming ‘DEFENSE’ and Coppell fans cheering loudly for the Cowboys. Coppell sent all five men into offense and passed the ball around but the shot was missed and the rebound was collected by the Wildcats. 

In the meantime, Lake Highlands senior small forward Noah McDavid ran in behind Coppell junior Naz Brown and was wide open with no player anywhere near him. He received the lob from Lake Highlands junior guard Reid Hocker and scored.

The Cowboys trailed by two points with 10 seconds left and the inbounded pass was received by Coppell junior guard Devank Rane and he quickly passed it off to Agarwal who attempted a three pointer with three seconds left. It went in-and-out of the rim and into the hands of Black for the offensive rebound but he was left with no time left to do anything. The clock rang and the Cowboys’ hands buried their faces in disarray and Lake Highlands erupted in cheer.

“We fought all year, even in our last playoff game [against Allen], we got up big and they made a huge run to comeback, we know how to comeback,” Coppell coach Clint Schnell said. “Obviously we didn’t want to be chasing [the win] right there at the end in a game like that but the fact that we got some turnovers, got some points, got back in the game and ultimately got a shot at the end to try to win it with one of the best shooters in the Metroplex [in Agarwal], I mean what more can you ask for.” 

Coppell’s 10-0 run in the remaining two minutes to end the fourth quarter was not enough to overcome Lake Highlands.

“The Cowboys are not going to quit, my guys are not going to quit, they are going to fight and like anyone else, when they get a little momentum from a couple of steals, a couple baskets and cutting the lead a little bit, it just snowballed from there for them and maybe if we get 30 more seconds, it’s a different ending for us but I never once thought of them quitting,” Schnell said.   

The Cowboys trailed by three leading into the fourth quarter but Agarwal’s earlier sunken three was called off due to offensive charging, shift the energy to Lake Highlands and a crucial stretch of play where the Wildcats put together a 11-1 run and Coppell’s offensive front was marred by failing to execute as well as untimely fouls, ultimately deciding this game.

“Refs are human too, they are going to make mistakes, maybe [Ryan’s charge] was a good call, maybe it wasn’t a good call,” Schnell said. “It’s a heated battle and we made mistakes offensively and defensively, Lake Highlands did and the refs do too, it’s just part of the game. As a team, we need to do a better job of overcoming [those calls], not letting it affect our mindset when a ref makes a call that doesn’t go our way.

Coppell and Lake Highlands were neck and neck throughout the first half, ending it 27-27. They both became scrappy when they needed to and played each other tough like the game plan suggested. 

“I told them at halftime that the first quarter wasn’t a really good quarter for us, the second quarter was a lot better and I told them we needed the same intensity as the second quarter to finish this game,” Schenll said. “You go into halftime and it’s 27-27, you have 16 minutes to come out and play and take control of it.”

Coppell failed in its attempt for its first region quarterfinal appearance since 2003. The Cowboys are 0-10 in area playoff games since 2006.

The Cowboys were six for 22 from the field while Black had 20 points in addition to Agarwal’s 15 points and nine rebounds. 

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