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Tigers win season-ending thriller
IC No 23 Leo Castaneda, Dibrell No 1 Lee-Allen Esparza, No 22 Chance Whitlock Keeper.jpg
The crowd is watching Irving College’s No. 23 Leo Casteneda’s shot go toward the basket, including Dibrell’s No. 1 Lee-Allen Esparza. Dibrell’s No. 22 Chance Whitlock is turned away from the basket after trying to block the shot. - photo by Brad Durham

The basketball gods left a very exciting game for Irving College fans in their final home game of the regular season Tuesday night.

The first quarter was a blowout by Dibrell, which took a decisive 14-4 lead. Irving College flipped the script in the second quarter and scored 21 points to Dibrell’s 1 point. The Tigers led 25-15 at halftime in what became a fight to the finish in the second half. 

When the final horn blew, Irving College was on top, 40-37.

Irving College went to a full-court press in the second quarter that gave Dibrell fits. The Tigers created turnovers and were red-hot shooting the ball in that quarter. Matthew Roller scored 8 of his 11 points in the second quarter to lead the home team to an amazing comeback.

Dibrell made some adjustments at halftime, and outscored Irving College 15-7 in the third quarter. The score after three quarters was 32-30 in Irving College’s favor, and fans from both schools were vocally into the game, as were the coaches.

Irving College was called for a technical foul against the head coach for questioning fouls by the officials in the fourth quarter. The score was 33-31 in Irving College’s favor when the technical was called. 

Chance Whitlock of Dibrell made two foul shots and Dibrell took possession after the free throws. Dibrell responded with a basketball that quickly changed the score by a total of four points in a matter of seconds, giving Dibrell a 35-33 lead.

Irving College fought back to take a 40-37 lead over the Wildcats. Dibrell was not able to score in the final seconds, and Irving pulled out a surprising turnaround after being smacked in the first quarter.

Afterwards, Irving College head coach John O’Connor discussed the game. “It’s a big game for our guys. We settled in the second quarter. When you do the right things, things go well. Our full-court pressure hurt them and we used it well in the second quarter. After our nerves settled down, we played well. Our guys have grown tremendously since game one. Tonight was the first night we have had everybody back in about three weeks.”

Irving College played Boyd Christian last night in the first night of the 7-8 grade county tournament. Dibrell played Eastside in the nightcap last night in the tournament at Bobby Ray Elementary.

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IRVING COLLEGE: Spencer Stubblefield 13, Matthew Roller 11, Canaan Parris 5, Corban Felton 5, Trace Taylor 3, Wesley Clendenon 3

DIBRELL: Chance Whitlock 16, Kaden Pendegraph 14, Allen Esparza 6, Pedro Jaramillo 1