Houston Chronicle

Bulldogs ride quick start into 3A title game

- By Jon Poorman jpoorman@houstonchr­onicle.com twitter.com/jonpoorman

SAN ANTONIO — When Hitchcock arrived at state last season, the team received a rude and abrupt awakening from San Antonio Cole in the semifinals.

This time around, the Bulldogs were not going to relive that nightmare.

Instead, they came out firing on all cylinders and cruised to a 69-36 victory over Region II champion Hooks on Thursday afternoon at the Alamodome to keep their quest for the Class 3A state title alive.

“We just came out and played defense,” Hitchcock coach Chris Jordan Foster said. “We wanted to come out and try to get a lot of stops. I usually tell them to try to start the game with three stops in a row and try to go down and score three times in a row, so we came out pretty aggressive to start the game off.”

Hitchcock (30-7), ranked No. 2 in the state by the Texas Associatio­n of Basketball Coaches, will play No. 5 Childress (28-7) in the championsh­ip game at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Hitchcock has never won a championsh­ip in three previous trips to the state tournament (2003, 2004, 2022). Only the 2003 squad advanced past the semifinals before getting blown out by Brock in the 2A title game.

With a victory Saturday, this year’s team has a chance to write a new chapter in the program’s history.

“Last year, it was our first time here, so we came in a little bit nervous,” said sophomore guard Elijah Sherwood, who scored a game-high 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting and collected 10 rebounds. “This time, we knew it was business. We knew we had to come in and play our game, put on a defensive clinic, just like Coach Jordan always says.”

Hitchcock was locked in and dominant out of the gates, surging ahead for a commanding 12-0 lead. The Bulldogs held Hooks scoreless until the Hornets finally knocked down a free throw with 3:19 on the clock. Hooks turned the ball over eight times in the opening quarter and didn’t hit a shot from the field until under a minute remained in the frame.

The Bulldogs faced little resistance the rest of the way as they kept their foot on the gas and closed out the victory. Hitchcock was dominant in most of the statistica­l categories, but the most glaring difference came in rebounding. The Bulldogs finished the game with a 42-19 advantage.

In addition to Sherwood’s efforts, Hitchcock also received a standout performanc­e from sophomore forward Lloyd Jones III, who finished with 17 points on 8-for-16 shooting with a game-high 12 rebounds. Junior guard Damien McDaniel chipped in with 12 points, five assists and four boards.

“Their physicalit­y definitely had something to do with it early on,” Hooks coach Michael Jackson said. “And then we just got rattled, and once you’re in front of a lot of people and it’s an important game, it’s just hard to bounce back when you’re in this environmen­t with so much on the line. … They just really jumped onto us early, and their athleticis­m, their length, their physicalit­y just really bothered us early, and we couldn’t get back into it.”

 ?? Ronald Cortes/Contribuit­or ?? Hitchock’s Lloyd Jones III, left, tallied 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the Bulldogs dominated Hooks in the state semifinals.
Ronald Cortes/Contribuit­or Hitchock’s Lloyd Jones III, left, tallied 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the Bulldogs dominated Hooks in the state semifinals.

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