Now that the Granbury Pirates have earned their first bidistrict boys basketball playoff berth since the 1999-2000 season, coach David Breazeale is counting on his players wanting to achieve even more.
The Pirates locked up fourth place in District 7-4A when they surprised Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt, 62-58, Tuesday night at James Wann Sports Center. Granbury will take on Waco University at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Waxahachie in the bidistrict round. University is 28-4 and ranked No. 17 in the state.
“This does a lot for us. It was good for us that we beat an elite team,” Breazeale said of the win over Wyatt, which enters the postseason as the No. 2 team in the district, and went through its first 10 district games without a loss. “It guarantees us a winning season, and a playoff spot. We’ll think a lot about not being satisfied.
“I’m just tickled for the kids. These kids have never seen the Granbury boys in the playoffs. They’re extremely excited. It’s been such a long time. If they’ve got such a taste, let’s make this thing ride.”
Granbury (17-14, 8-6 in district) outscored the Chaparrals 20-16 in the fourth after letting a 31-24 halftime lead slip away, allowing Wyatt to tie the game at 42 after three quarters.
Nick Doughty and Brandon Fichter paced the Pirates in scoring, with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Nine of Fichter’s points came in the final 3:50 of the contest.
Fichter’s extra-effort putback in traffic under the basket off his own missed shot was followed by a 3-point bucket. That gave the Pirates the lead for good, 54-52, with 3:04 remaining.
“He kept us in the game,” Breazeale said of Fichter’s productive fourth-quarter spurt. “He has been hurt a lot and had been struggling through district. Tonight, he did what seniors do who really want it. He made some big shots.”
Fichter has been dealing with a sprained ankle, and after the game admitted “I’m hurting.” He said the team’s excitement after the win was, “Off the charts.”
“We knew we had to make the playoffs,” said Fichter, a 6-2 senior wing. “We wanted to break Aledo’s back (the other team that had a chance to qualify). We beat a great team, and we’re in the playoffs.”
Fichter said Breazeale had told the players to look at him from the court and say, “It’s that time,” and he said that happened with about a minute and a half left in the game.
The Granbury coach also took note of a special play turned in by Doughty at the end of the third period, driving the length of the court for a layup just as time expired to tie the game at 42. After Doughty grabbed the ball near the Wyatt basket, Breazeale had shouted to him, “Take it all the way.”
“That was such a momentum play,” Breazeale said.
The game had seven lead changes and was tied twice in the first quarter. The Pirates closed out the second quarter with an 11-3 run. It was tied three times in the third quarter, and there were four lead changes within the first 52 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Byron Smith, Wyatt’s 6-5 post, made a smooth running jumper with 31 seconds left in the game that would have pulled the Chaparrals to within one point, but it was waived off when he was called for traveling on the play. That enabled Granbury to maintain a 58-55 lead at that point.
The Pirates then sank four of their six free throw tries in the final 25 seconds, although Wyatt’s Justin Mills hit a 3-pointer with one second left on the clock.
“In the last two minutes, we rebounded well,” Breazeale said. “Fortunately, we made enough stops and shot our free throws well – and we stopped turning the ball over.
Now that they are in the playoffs, the Pirates are certainly hoping history repeats itself – or even better. The last Pirate team to reach the postseason had a 16-16 regular season record and won two games before being eliminated.
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Wyatt 15 9 18 16 – 58
Granbury 12 19 11 20 – 62
Granbury (17-14, 8-6 in District 7-4A) scorers – Nick Doughty 20, Brandon Fichter 19, Clay Brawner 7, Jacob Taylor 5, Jimmy Hodges 5, Collin McCann 3, Klint Keating 3.
Wyatt (18-12, 11-3) leading scorer – Deon Daniels 18.
3-pointers – Granbury 5-9 (Fichter 3, Brawner 1, McCann 1); Wyatt 10.
Granbury rebounds – Brawner 7, Fichter 5.
Free throws – Granbury 17-28; Wyatt 8-14.