Fans storm the Austin High home court in celebration as the buzzer sounds the end of a thrilling Austin High 44-43 victory over arch-rival Westlake on Tuesday night. – photo by Sarah Weeks
by Patrick Olson
Dorian Parks drained a free throw with 5.64 seconds remaining to give Austin High a thrilling 44-43 home court victory over arch-rival Westlake Tuesday night. “When I hit that free throw I said…’I just need to make this and we’re gonna win!’,” said the 6’3” senior guard. Normally a good shooter at the charity stripe, Parks connected on just his sixth free throw on fifteen attempts in a tightly officiated contest. The Maroons must now defeat Anderson on Friday to earn a trip to the playoffs.
Westlake scored the first four points of the game and built a 17-9 lead after the first period. Jon Brodnax entered the game for the home team and hit a three pointer to cut the Chap advantage to 17-12. Parks then snagged the ball after it rolled off the top of the backboard and scooped in a quick basket. Matt Jones converted a wide-open trey to give the Maroons their first lead of the night 22-21. A pair of free throws by Parks put Austin High in front 24-21 at intermission.
The Chaps fouled Cole Carper early in the third period and the 6’7” forward connected on a free throw before Parks made an interior basket to tie the game 34-34 entering the final quarter. Parks grabbed a long rebound on a missed trey by Westlake and drove the length of the court before being fouled. After Carper fouled out, 6’4” Tim Wright stepped up his game in the front court and converted two free throws to put Austin High on top 43-42.
With less than 30 seconds remaining, Jackson Carter sank a free throw for the Chaps to tie the game 43-43. Following a missed free throw, Parks connected on his second shot and the Austin High student section roared at the decibel level of a rock concert. The Chaps sprinted down the court and the Maroons smothered guard Will Morse preventing the leading Westlake scorer from attempting a shot. Students proceeded to storm the court in celebration. “I’m speechless,” Austin High coach Andy Dudney said immediately afterward before commenting in more detail later. “This game never disappoints. It’s the greatest high school rivalry that exists.”