As in 2016, the Bulldogs fell behind early, but this time there was no comeback bid in a 59-35 loss to Clarendon in front of 10,293 Alamodome fans Friday morning.
The Bulldogs—who entered the tournament with the most losses of any team—end up 27-10.
Clarendon (30-3 and ranked No. 5) then turned around and was trounced 73-45 by Muenster in the state championship game. Muenster (33-6)—the No. 1 ranked team in the state— had lost to Canadian in last year’s finale.
Leading 10-9 with 3 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first quarter, Thorndale could not withstand a Clarendon blitz and was outscored 30-6 over the next 11 minutes and trailed 39-16 at intermission.
The Broncos’ frenetic pace forced the Bulldogs into 22 turnovers and 31 per cent shooting from the floor. Thorndale was one-for-11 from three-point range.
“We’ve been down 25 one time and 22 in the fourth quarter and got back within two points,” said a perplexed Thorndale Coach John Kovar. “I thought we were going to give all-out effort and have a couple of little spurts, but the shots didn’t go in. We can’t be all defense. You have to put some in the hole.
“I thought a few times in the third and fourth quarter, we did what we needed to do defensively, but the basketball just wasn’t going in today.”
The Bulldogs also got beaten under the boards 39-32, including 11-2 in the pivotal second quarter.
“It was a tough physical game,” Kovar said. “Lots of loose balls. They outrebounded us and that usually doesn’t happen. They were physical and strong. The ball just didn’t go in the basket the way it has the previous five basketball games.”
Thorndale’s 6-foot-6 point guard and leading scorer Ty Prince was limited to six points and put up just 10 shots.
Prince—who averaged 15.6 points per game on the year—had four points in the first four minutes of the game and just two the rest of the way.
Postman Logan Fisher led the Bulldogs with eight points, while Sam Reaves collected seven points and seven rebounds and Ashton Albert seven points.
“I thought we came out good on offense, but our defense never got there,” Reaves said.
Clarendon’s 6-foot- 5 senior postman Marshall Johnson produced 18 points from in the paint, including 14 in the first half on 7-of-9 shooting, when the Broncos constructed the huge lead.
Clarendon forward Cameron Smith added to the Broncos dominance inside with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“We try to get it out, kick it and run,” said Clarendon coach Brandt Lockhart, who’s squad registered its 17th straight victory. “We feel like we are a pretty quick team and do a good job in transition. Today their shots were falling, which was good. That’s basically our philosophy.”
The Bulldogs are in fantastic shape for a third straight trip in 2018, with all five starters coming back.
Thorndale loses seniors Rueben Briones, Josh Islet and Ryan Biar.
“Being a part of both these teams—it has been amazing,” Briones said. “We are one big family in Thorndale.”
“There’s no guarantees, but we should be hungrier next year from the start,” Kovar said. “We have been successful at Thorndale because of the kids we have here.”
Clarendon 59, Thorndale 35
THORNDALE (27-10)— Sam Reaves 7, Logan Fisher 8, Ty Prince 6, Ashton Albert 7, Scott Guzman 2, Evan Ivy 1, Ashton Schaefer 4.
CLARENDON (31-2)— Cameron Smith 17, Marshal Johnson 18, Colt Wood 6, Bryce Grahn 2, Chance Lockhart 10, Damarjae Cortez 5, Caton Grahn 1. Thorndale106910—35 Clarendon14 25 11 9—59
FG%-Thorndale 31.3, Clarendon 43.1. FT%-Thorndale 50, Clarendon 37.5. 3-PT%-Thorndale 9.1, Clarendon 50. Rebounds-Thorndale 32, Clarendon 39. Assists-Thorndale 5, Clarendon 14. Turnovers-Thorndale 22, Clarendon 16. Blocks Thorndale 2, Clarendon 1. Steals-Thorndale 14, Clarendon 15. A-10,293.