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Wildcats top Tigers to advance to title tilt
Wesley Clendenon drives.jpg

The Dibrell defense bounced Irving College around Tuesday night and the Wildcats earned a trip to the county championship in the process.

Dibrell prevented Irving College from getting any offensive fluency during a 42-22 win in the semifinals of the 7-8 County Basketball Tournament at WCHS.

The Wildcat win sets up a showdown between Dibrell and Morrison for the county title Friday at 8:15 p.m. The championship was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was moved up a day.

Dibrell beat Morrison in the finals of the Morrison Ruritan preseason tournament by jumping ahead early and then overcoming a late Eagle rally to win, 34-32. Morrison responded by beating Dibrell in both games of a doubleheader last week.

Morrison will look to create turnovers and easy baskets with its quick guards and disruptive press, while Dibrell will try to make it a half-court game to reduce the explosiveness of the Eagles.

In the semifinals against Irving College, Wildcat guard Lee-Allen Esparza kept Dibrell on track with a game-high 13 points. He was a menace in the open court during the third quarter with 7 points to help Dibrell break open the game.

The Tigers failed to establish any consistency on the inside and didn’t connect on enough of their perimeter shots to make a difference. It didn’t helped that the Tigers only shot 25% from the free throw line, 3-of-12.

Dibrell was the better team on this night, defeating Irving College for the third time this season. The Wildcats were up 18-8 at the half and weathered a rally that saw the Tigers cut the lead to 22-18 in the third quarter on a Trathan Taylor 3-pointer.

Dibrell responded by scoring the final 10 points of the third, including back-to-back 3-point plays by Esparza and Chance Whitlock.

DIBRELL -- Lee-Allen Esparza 13, Chance Whitlock 11, Jace Matheney 7, Evan Tittsworth 4, Syler Simmons 4, Jordin Mitchell 2, Kobe Brand 1

IRVING COLLEGE  -- Corban Felton 7, Anden Green 6, Wesley Clendenon 3, Trathan Taylor 3, Brayden Snider 2, Sam Fults 1