LINDALE — Whitehouse guard Jake Parker turned to the basket, elevated with the ball and watched his desperation shot fall through the net.
No doubt, things can change in little time.
A week after Whitehouse was eliminated from the football playoffs in heartbreak fashion, Parker drilled a game-winner with no time left to give the Wildcats' a thrilling 48-46 victory over Robert E. Lee the Hoop Heaven basketball tournament boys final Saturday night at Lindale High School.
Before a heated atmosphere that seemed like a regional final between archrivals, Parker earned tournament MVP honors — helping alleviate some of the pain that resulted from last week's loss in football, which was also experienced by most of his basketball teammates.
Plus, Parker had the final word in a game that featured countless vocal right hooks, uppercuts and jabs from both sides.
“It's big because it came against Lee,” said Parker, who finished with a game-high 16 points. “It's a big rivalry for us because they are from across Tyler. It helped make me feel a little better.”
The victory capped an impressive weekend for the Wildcats, whose roster is lined with football players getting readapted to basketball. The Wildcats (3-2) are idle Tuesday and will have a week of practice heading into the Burkburnett tournament next weekend.
It was the first loss of the season for Lee, which fell to 7-1.
“I was proud of our kids for battling and getting back into it after squandering the lead, but I am most proud of how they played with class and integrity,” said Lee coach Alan Johnston.
Taylor Tankersley paced the Red Raiders with 15 points while Justin DeSalvo and Jack Calhoun each chipped in 12 points.
Patrick Mahomes added 15 points for Whitehouse, which built a double-figure lead in the second half after REL controlled things in the early minutes.
“We've had only once practice together and four games,” Whitehouse coach Ryan Tomlin said. “To come out and beat a team as good as Robert E. Lee says something special about our guys.”
The Red Raiders provided a ferocious fourth quarter comeback only to watch the final shot bounce the wrong way for them.
“We played it well and forced him into a trap and the ball was on the floor there at the free-throw line,” Johnston said. “There guy got it and made the shot. That’s how it bounces sometimes.”
Whitehouse entered the fourth quarter with a 38-29 lead, but was outscored 8-0 during the first four minutes before finally ending the scoring drought and increasing the advantage back to 40-37 with 4:06 left. Calhoun scored on a driving layup to tie the game at 38-38 with 38 seconds remaining.
On the final possession, Tomlin opted to let things play out instead of using one of his final two timeouts — and it turned out to be the perfect decision, because it made things more difficult for the Red Raiders to set up a defense. Parker, who had several exchanges with Lee's student body section throughout the game, made the game-winner (the ball rimmed in) and then took off down the floor as the celebration ensued.
Whitehouse closed the opening half on a 16-2 run to enter the break up 26-22, capping a contentious first two quarters in which a technical foul was issued and fanbases traded vocal jabs throughout.
Mahomes, a quarterback in football, provided a long-range assist to Parker, a receiver, to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 24-22, with 1:01 left in the half. Parker took control in the quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers to help the Wildcats fight back from a 20-10 deficit.
The Wildcats now return with the Hoop Heaven championship trophy for a second-straight year. These two teams will meet again on Dec. 18 in Whitehouse.
Lee returns to action on Tuesday to face Jacksonville with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m. at Jacksonville High School.
Pine Tree 39, Lindale 35
Sky-Lynn Holmes finished with a game-high 18 points to lead Pine Tree past Lindale, 39-35, for the girls title. Holmes, a lengthy post player, helped the Lady Pirates outscore the Lady Eagles 13-6 in the final quarter to rally from a three-point deficit.
Pine Tree, which improved to 7-1 on the season, went ahead for good with 1:21 remaining in the fourth and increased the advantage to 38-35 on an Abby Mitchell basket with :41 to play. Mitchell, who finished the night with 12 points, was named tournament MVP following the game.
Lindale's attempt to rally in the final minute featured a pair of costly turnovers that thwarted scoring opportunities. The Lady Eagles were led by Zhanelle Geathers, who finished with 14 points.
Lindale outscored Pine Tree 16-6 in the second quarter to go into the break clinging to a 20-19 lead. The Lady Eagles' earned their first lead since early in the opening quarter, 18-15, via a Paige Murphy 3-pointer from the corner with 2:02 to play.
The shot, which Murphy made with a defender in her face, followed a Lady Pirates turnover and transition layup by Geathers that tied the game at 15-15.
Holmes finished the half with 12 points, eight of which came in the first quarter as Pine Tree built an 11-4 advantage.
Geathers paced Lindale with 8 first-half points.
Lindale Hoop Heaven
Pine Tree 11 6 7 13 39
Lindale 4 16 9 6 35
PINE TREE — Sky-Lynn Holmes, 18; Abby Mitchell, 12; McKaylla Baylor, 5; KeAmbria Richard, 4.
LINDALE — Zhanelle Geathers, 14; Natasha Malone, 7; Neeley Doss, 5; Symone Brookins, 4; Paige Murphy, 3; Bailee Glasscock, 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS — PT: Mitchell. L: Murphy.
RECORDS — Pine Tree 7-1; Lindale 6-2.
Bullard 52, Henderson 28
Henderson 8 8 6 6 — 28
Bullard 11 22 8 11 — 52
HENDERSON — Stewart, 4; Harris, 2; Neal, 5; Partin, 11; Lee, 6.
BULLARD — Fredrick, 15; Henton, 2; Taylor, 9; Abercrombie, 4; Slayter, 10; Kizer, 12.
THREE POINT GOALS — H: Partin. B: Fredrick (4), Taylor (2), Slayer (2).
Whitehouse 48, Robert E. Lee 46
Whitehouse 10 16 23 20 — 48
Lee 11 11 6 17 — 46
WHITEHOUSE — Jake Parker, 16; Patrick Mahomes, 15; Spencer Shaw, 5; Dylan Cantrell, 3; Ty Stickley, 6; Jaylon Dews, 3.
LEE — Jack Calhoun, 12; Taylor Tankersley, 15; D. Smallwood, 2; Justin DeSalvo, 12; Will Daugherty, 5.
THREE-POINT GOALS — W: Parker (4). REL: Calhoun (3).
RECORDS — Whitehouse 3-2; Lee 7-1.
Spring Hill 55, Lindale 42
Spring Hill 12 9 18 16 — 55
Lindale 9 6 9 10 — 42
SPRING HILL — Garska, 2; Hustt, 2; Womack, 6; Williams, 13; Lattier, 6; Phelan, 4; Patterson, 4; Irwin, 1; Brundrett, 10.
LINDALE — Terry, 4; Heinaman, 7; Pierce, 3; Sir Louis, 4; Lind, 3; Dudley, 5; Fry, 4; Boaz, 2; Capo, 2.
THREE POINT GOALS — SH: Williams (2), Phelen. L: Heinaman, Dudley.
RECORDS — Spring Hill 6-2; Lindale 3-5.
North Forney 60, Pine Tree 46
Pine Tree 13 8 10 15 — 46
North Forney 11 21 9 19 — 60
PINE TREE — Hays, 8; Rayburn, 3; Gossett, 4; Chumley, 23; Hines, 6; Barker, 2.
NORTH FORNEY — Jordan, 3; Choice, 3; Watts, 11; Harris, 11; Neugent, 21; Woods, 2; Jones, 2; Ottun, 3; Tarrant, 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS — PT: None. NF: Jordan, Choice, Watts (2), Neugent (2).
Lufkin Hudson 60, T.K. Gorman 53
Gorman 9 14 20 10 — 53
Hudson 18 18 9 15 — 60
GORMAN — Droder, 2; Goforth, 11; McKinley, 1; Lackner, 11; Ashworth, 28; Sharron, 1.
HUDSON — Bernius, 7; Penson, 2; Bufkin, 5; Fenley, 8; Glass, 4; Simmons, 19; Zaher, 15.
THREE POINT GOALS — BG: Ashworth (2). H: Bernius.