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December 29, 2010

On the road: Kimball wins DISD/Coca-Cola title

Dallas Kimball High School senior guard Austin Franklin didn't get a chance to play Dallas Lincoln in the teams' first meeting on Nov. 27. The New Mexico State-bound two-sport star (he plays football and basketball for Kimball) was still winding down from the football season when Kimball lost to Lincoln by 16.

Franklin gave Kimball the opportunity to gain vengeance on Wednesday evening -- and he did so with a bucket that seemed to be heard all around Dallas' Oak Cliff area.

Franklin sank a 12-foot runner with 1.3 seconds left on the clock to give Kimball an 81-79 win over Lincoln in the finals of the Dallas ISD/Coca-Cola Tournament at Ellis Davis Field House in Dallas. It was a much-anticipated rematch that included roughly 5,500 fans in attendance.

It also was a battle between rivals who are both ranked in the top 10 in the state. Kimball (15-2) is ranked No. 7 in the latest TABC/Tex Preps Basketball Magazine Class 4A state poll. No. 2 Lincoln, which entered the game as the only UIL Class 4A undefeated team remaining in the state, fell to 18-1.

And while Franklin finished with 13 points, no two were greater than a running jumper just before the fourth-quarter clock expired.

"It was really supposed to be a give-and-go," Franklin said about the game-winning play, "but I just took matters into my own hands. The whole bench wanted me to have the ball. It was a big play."

The game was close throughout the contest, and four players -- including Oklahoma State signee LeBryan Nash (Lincoln) and SMU signee Jalen Jones (Kimball) - fouled out in the final quarter. The teams were tied at 79 with 17.5 seconds left after Lincoln's Keaton Miles, a West Virginia signee, connected on a driving bucket and the ensuing free throw following a foul. The next play included Franklin's shot that put the entire Ellis Davis Field House into a frenzy.

"Kimball and Lincoln, you can play it anywhere," Kimball coach Royce "Snoop" Johnson said. "It doesn't matter if it's a district game or a preseason game, it's going to be big. For it to be the championship of the Coca-Cola tournament, that just made it one of the biggest basketball events around."

Johnson continued: "With Austin, he's one of those guys you love to coach. You ask him to do something, and he won't let you down. He wants to make the big play."

Franklin was named to the all-tournament team. The all-tournament MVP award, however, belonged to Kimball's Jordan Williams, who scored 19 of his team-high 28 points in the second half against Lincoln. The North Texas signee -- and former Lincoln player as a freshman and sophomore -- was proud to get the win but really wanted to put the spotlight on having his team at full strength. Franklin and Isiah Norton are in full basketball mode after playing football, and Jones recently was cleared to play after the district executive committee voted on his eligibility.

"I knew we were going to pull it out with Austin and Jalen back," Williams said. "This was great for me, because I've had it both sides being at Lincoln and at Kimball. The crowd will get you hyped."

In addition to Williams' 28, sharpshooter Shannon Lilly finished with 20 points and drained five 3-points for Kimball. Jones had nine points, and 6-foot-9 point forward Jarion Henry, who is being heavily recruited, was held to four. Both Jones and Henry fouled out in the fourth quarter.

The loss put a damper on Nash's night, as he scored 34 points and was perfect (17 of 17) from the free throw line. Miles added 17 points for Lincoln, including 15 in the second half. For the tournament, Lincoln earned an overtime win against Dallas Madison in the quarterfinals and then beat DeSoto in the semifinals on a buzzer-beating, half-court shot by Kyron Criner.

The Kimball win has fans wondering if a Lincoln-Kimball III will occur. The teams possibly can see each other again at the UIL Class 4A Region II tournament in Garland in February.



Damon Sayles is the Senior Writer for TexasHoops.com. Follow Damon and the TexasHoops.com staff on Twitter and on Facebook.
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