Two evenly matched teams faced off in the playoffs each knowing that only one gets to advance. This is what the playoffs are about but it leads ultimately to heartbreak for one, and jubilation for the other.

Last week the Kennedale Wildcats (28-8, 10-2) suffered a loss in a UIL 4A Area playoff game against the Anna Coyotes (22-9, 9-1). While it was a gut-wrenching heartbreaker, it was one for which the Cats could hold up their heads with pride for they took it down to the last literal second of the game.

Wildcats had the “slows” in the beginning …

It took a while for either team to warm up as each seemed to dare the other to score. But it was Anna who responded first and the Coyotes rolled off 9 unanswered points. The Cats came back with 5 of their own but Anna had taken ownership of the lead and flaunted it throughout the first half.

Kennedale did come within two at 13-11 during Q1 and again in Q2 at 15-13 but the rest of the period was all Anna. The Coyotes eventually established their biggest margin of the game by going into halftime with a commanding 12-point lead, 31-19.

The Cats take back the game in the 3rd …

This is where pride kicks in. It could have been something that Coach Groff “politely,” said during the halftime break. It could have been a team meeting without coaches or simply the realization among the players that this is not how we roll. Whatever happened the Anna Coyotes along with the crowd were very surprised in the third quarter.

The first few minutes nothing happened, but then the Cats started their comeback. Kennedale then completely erased Anna’s 12 points margin and took their own four-point lead early in the 4th. It was a 16-9 run.

The rest of the game was the one that everyone had expected from the beginning. The lead changed at least 7 times, was tied 5 times and no team led by more than 3 points for the remainder of the game.

And yes, it was settled in the final 5 seconds of the game …

  • After it was tied at 46 with under 5 minutes to go, Anna broke the tie by hitting a foul shot to make it 46-47.
  • Kennedale’s Austin Pickett tied it again with a foul shot on a 1&1. Then Kennedale got the lead at 50-47 when Pablo Agosto-Vega hit from deep outside.
  • Anna did not wither but responded in kind by hitting back-to-back 3s to retake the lead at 53-50.
  • It was Wildcat Tristan Lewis who then single-handedly regain the Wildcat lead 55-53 scoring 5 straight points when he hit a foul shot followed by two consecutive field goals.
  • At the 1:06 mark in the game, Anna hit for two and once again tied the game 55-55.
  • With the clocking ticking, the Wildcats missed on a drive to the bucket and the Coyotes came up with the ball.
  • Working for the last shot, Anna drove to the net with less than 10 seconds remaining. The lay-up attempt was missed but Anna, in what turned out to be the biggest rebound of the game, got the ball back and scored on the putback. A foul was called on Kennedale. Anna was up by two.
  • Shooting for one, Anna missed and Kennedale rebounded. Time 5.1 seconds.
  • The Cats rushed the ball up the court and on a jumper from just past the halfcourt line Tristan Lewis got the ball off as the game buzzer sounded. The shot hit just off the rim of the basket and fell to the court. Score: Anna 57, Kennedale 55.

Pablo Agosto-Vega (Jr) led the Wildcats with 13 points. Landon Brooks (Jr), Austin Picket (Jr), and Tristan Lewis (Jr) all scored 9 points followed by 7 from Ruben Rivera Agosto (JR), 4 from Jacoby Lovings (Fr), and 2 each from Destined Mason (Sr) and Breylen Harris (Sr).

The top rebounders were Landon Brooks with 11, Pablo Agosto-Vega with 5, and Noah Biles (Jr) with 3. Agosto-Vega, Lovings, and Rivera Agosto all recorded 2 steals, while Brooks had 2 blocks and Biles recorded 1.

UIL Playoff update …

#1 Oak Cliff Family (28-3, 8-0) defeated Anna 77-46 in the UIL 4A Regional Quarterfinals and will play Sulphur Springs (31-7, 10-0) for the chance to play in the Final Four.

District 10/4A playoff update …

  • 1st seed Life Waxahachie (32-6, 11-1) beat Benbrook (12-22, 5-7) 65-20 in Bi-District and lost to Aubrey (30-5, 9-1) in Area 46-47.
  • 2nd seed Kennedale beat YMLA 71-40 in Bi-District then lost to Anna 57-55 in Area.
  • 3rd seed Alvarado (28-6, 9-3) lost to Dunbar (15-17, 10-2) in Bi-District 68-51. Dunbar lost to Oak Cliff Family 79-58 in Area.
  • 4th seed Ferris lost to FTW Eastern Hills (26-8, 11-1) 75-49 in Bi-District.

See updated UIL 4A playoff bracket here.