FAIRFIELD — Neches High School's game-winning shot on Tuesday wasn't quite exactly how it was drawn up.
Neches head coach Randy Snider called a timeout with 3.7 seconds left — moments after Coolidge's Torrey Hoover knotted the score at 45-all with a running layup inside the lane.
Snider said the plan was for Bryant Kincade to dribble up court as quickly as possible and feed Carlos Quistian in the lane for the game-winner.
“We were looking for Carlos underneath, or another one of our shooters in the corner,” Snider said.
Surprisingly, Coolidge left Kincade unguarded near center court. Bryant sprinted toward the 3-point line, and teammate Bryson Barrett was trailing him.
Kincade sent a short chest pass to Barrett, who leaped into the air and hoisted a hopeful shot.
Barrett's running 3-point attempt banked off the glass with a thud, and down through the basket — giving Neches the win 48-45 in the Conference 1A-Region IV quarterfinals at Johnson Activity Center.
Neches' players understandably reacted with euphoria, and Barrett looked up at Neches' fans while nudging the scorer's table.
“It was a big win for our boys,” Snider said. “We have been striving to get here to the regional tournament for a long time.”
Neches improved to 24-12, and the Tigers will face Leggett in the 1A-Region IV semifinals at 8 p.m. on Friday at Toney Burger Gymnasium in Austin.
The game will feature two teams ranked in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 1A poll, with Neches No. 5 and Leggett (24-8) No. 22.
Neches didn't play particularly well at the onset, down by as many as seven points twice during the second quarter after a Skyler Hayes layup with 5:17 left in the second quarter (16-9) and Hoover shot inside the paint, 20-13 — which was the score at intermission.
Jase Kincade scored inside to give Neches a 37-32 lead with 5:50 to go in the fourth quarter — the Tigers' largest bulge of the contest.
Barrett made two free throws with 31.4 ticks left, giving Neches a 45-41 lead.
Coolidge scored on back-to-back possessions, including a Colton Carter layup — which set up Barrett's game-winning heroics.
Barrett finished the game with 25 points, including three 3-pointers and 5-of-8 from the free-throw line. Quistian added 17 points.
Hoover paced Coolidge (22-4) with 18 points, and Jordan Brown netted 11.
Neches 48, Coolidge 45
Score by quarters
C 9 11 10 15 —45
N 6 7 17 18 — 48
Coolidge: J.J. Acevedo, 7; Torrey Hoover, 18; Jordan Brown, 11; Skyler Hayes, 7; Colton Carter, 2
Neches: Bryson Barrett, 25; Connor Reagan, 2; Carlos Quistian, 17; Jase Kincade, 4
Personal fouls: Coolidge 18, Neches 15; Fouled out: None; Technical fouls: None