For several years now, District 23-5A and Fort Bend ISD have been the home of the best basketball teams in the Houston area. On Saturday, that district might again be home to a state basketball champion.
The Travis Tigers defeated the Warren Warriors from San Antonio, 85-72, on Friday afternoon in the UIL Class 5A state semifinal at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. With the win, Travis advances to the state championship game on Saturday night against the Flower Mound Marcus Marauders, who are ranked No. 9 in the nation by USA Today.
After trading early scores and seeing three tied scores in the first three minutes of the game, junior Aaron Harrison helped the Tigers grab a lead that they would never relinquish.
Harrison scored 11 of Travis’ 21 first-quarter points and connected on three three-point shots along the way. The Tigers shot 57 percent from the field as a team in the opening period and defensively forced six Warren turnovers. They led 21-14 heading into the second quarter.
Travis’ hot shooting continued in that period. Harrison added eight more points in the period and junior guard John Burnett connected on a pair of three-point field goals as the Tigers extended their lead at the half to 46-35.
As a team, the Tigers hit seven of 11 first-half three-point attempts.
Warren made a run in the third quarter to cut into the lead. Baskets by seniors Jordan Corona and Taurean Waller-Prince twice brought the Warriors to within four points of the lead. But another three by Burnett gave Travis a 59-52 lead at the end of the third.
Corona again connected on a trey to start the final quarter to cut the lead to 59-55, but Travis quickly recaptured momentum thanks to Burnett’s fifth three-pointer of the game and a layup by Harrison.
The Tigers then put the clamps defensively on the Warren offense, limiting the Warriors to five points over the final four and a half minutes of the game and winning the game going away.
The 13-point margin of victory was also the largest lead of the game.
Harrison led all scorers in the game with 30 points. Burnett connected on five of six three-point attempts and scored 17 points in the game.
Travis prepares now for Flower Mound Marcus, which defeated Garland Naaman Forest, 59-35, in the other Class 5A state semifinal game. It is a task that Travis head coach Craig Brownson said his team is prepared for.
“We didn’t come down here for a vacation,” Brownson stated in his postgame press conference. “We came here to try to win a state championship.”