Kimball High School boys’ basketball won the 5A Region 2 championship Saturday to qualify for the UIL State Basketball Tournament for the third consecutive season.
Head coach Nicke Smith can’t help but wonder if the “third time is a charm,” but he knows this trip is just about more than luck. It’s about keeping his team focused and to only worry about the next opponent.
Kimball, which has won 26 consecutive games, beat Lancaster 63-54 Saturday to earn one of the four spots in the 5A state tournament. During the UIL playoffs, the Knights also have wins against Mesquite Poteet (75-38), Frisco Heritage (75-72), W.T. White (67-52), and Red Oak (69-44). No 5A teams have had an answer for Kimball this season.
The Knights (31-2) will face San Antonio Veterans Memorial (36-4) in the first of two semifinals on Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The other semifinal pits Killeen Ellison (37-3) against Mansfield Summit (34-4) at 8:30 p.m. The winners advance to the 5A State Championship Game Saturday at 3 p.m.
Kimball is making its 14th appearance in the state tournament and is seeking its first title since 2014 and its seventh overall.
In 2021, Kimball lost to Beaumont United in overtime in the championship game and then last year came up short in the semifinal against that same United team, which made the jump to 6A this season.
“It’s hard to not think about the heartache of the previous two trips to the state finals,” Smith said. “I try to block the past out of my mind and focus on what’s ahead and what we want to accomplish and that’s to win the championship this season.”
“It would top off this incredible run the team has made this season,” Smith continued. “I know these boys deserve it. I want it more for them, our school, and our community. It has been a few years since we’ve brought a championship back home, and now we are back and going to try our best to do it again.
Tickets for the state tournament are available through Ticketmaster and are sold online only. Single-session tickets go on sale Monday, March 6 at 10 a.m. All-Tournament tickets also are available. A parking pass is required.