The Joshua Owls waited 39 years to play a boys basketball postseason game and they came out on fire Tuesday night against North Forney at Grapevine HS.
Joshua started the game with the first 10 points, but North Forney stormed back. Too many missed shots and turnovers for the Owls, who were eliminated, 61-50, in a 5A Region 2 bi-district showdown.
It was the Falcons’ first playoff win since 2015.
North Forney (16-9) will face Huntsville in the area round. Huntsville beat Hallsville 93-72 on Monday.
Joshua’s finishes the season 12-12 with its first berth since 1982.
“They came out ready to play. We just had a bad second quarter. I don’t think both teams played well, just too many turnovers. I think there were 15 turnovers by halftime,” Joshua coach Brandt Lockhart said.
The Owls opened the game with a 10-0 run, highlighted by a reverse layup from senior Levi Marriot and dunk from senior Tyler Stone that forced a North Forney timeout.
North Forney made one field goal and one free throw as Joshua led 10-3 at the end of the period.
But it seemed like a lid covered Joshua’s basket in the second quarter as the Owls went on a five-minute drought and only scored two points in the frame.
“It was the first playoff game so little nervous,” Lockhart said. “We just couldn’t hit from the outside. They had a big guy that frustrated us whenever we drove to the rim.”
Meanwhile, North Forney took advantage with a 17-2 run since trailing 10-0. Devyn Franklin made the Falcons’ second field goal and Jaden Jefferson knocked down a corner three to make it 12-7 mid quarter.
Jefferson tied the game at 12 with another 3-pointer and Jeremy Sims converted a 3-point play to push the North Forney lead to 15-12. It would go into half with a 17-12 edge.
The Falcons led by 11 early in the third and Joshua cut the lead to six three different times following a 3-pointer from Dylan Darnall, a two-handed Stone dunk and a Stone layup late in the period.
Joshua trailed by 13 in the fourth and 11 with 3:44 to play, but rallied.
Deaven Connelly, who scored 12 in the fourth, hit a pair of threes, Stone banked in a floater and Brandon Ayars threw an inbound pass off a defender and assisted a Marriot layup to pull the Owls within 51-49 with two minutes left. However, the Owls never regained the lead and North Forney made free throws to secure the win.
“Proud of our bunch all year long. We came back, fought hard to cut it to one possession,” Lockhart said. “I told them to get after them, trap and try to get a steal. Just keep grinding to make it one possession. We did, just couldn’t hit the shot when we needed to.”
Stone finished with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. Marriot added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Said Lockhart, “This is something this team will remember, that they were the ones that broke the 39-year drought.”
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