It's getting down to the wire in the 2013 high school boys basketball playoffs and we still have one team left in our coverage area in the hunt for a state championship: The Wildcats of Water Valley. They are currently ranked No. 2 in Class 1A Division II and they have not lost to another Class 1A team all year. Last week they were playing in the regional tournament at Moody Coliseum in Abilene. Everyone on the sports staff had high hopes for the Wildcats heading into regionals because they were our last chance to cover a game at the state tournament in Austin. The first opponent for Water Valley was Crowell, ranked No. 17 in the state, but probably should have ranked higher because they knocked off No. 3-ranked Eula earlier in the week.
Water Valley led 9-8 after the first quarter and increased their lead to 24-17 heading into the locker room at the half. Everything seemed to be going according to plan for the Wildcats. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Water Valley still had the lead at 34-27. Here's when things start to get interesting.
Crowell decided to make a hard push to the finish led by standout guard Mitchell Parsley. In the previous game against Eula, Parsley uncorked 35 points en route to the win. With 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter Parsley hit a jumper to give Crowell a late 44-43 lead. But it was the cool head of Water Valley's Trae Hannon that kept the Wildcats in the game. Hannon rebounded the ball and raced to the other end of the court where he was fouled. He hit both free throws to put the Wildcats up by one. Hannon hit four more free throws in the last minute to put the Wildcats up 49-46. Crowell had one last chance to stay in the game with an inbound pass from under their own basket with 1.5 seconds. The pass came in straight to Mitchell Parsley who had a good look and let it fly from the 3-point line. The arena went silent as everyone in the building held their breath watching the ball travel on its slow arch toward the basket. The ball bounced twice on the front of the rim and casually rolled off.
The Water Valley fans went nuts. This is the furthest the Water Valley boys basketball team had ever been. They would be playing in the regional final against Ira or Throckmorton for a chance to play in the state tournament. What a great game and congratulations to the Wildcats.