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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:11 PM
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TIGERS' TALE ENDS

Thrall falls in semifinals
TIGERS' TALE ENDS
Thrall boys varsity basketball senior Dawson Meiske (4) and fellow senior Carson Ball (11) try to box out a defender March 8 during the Tigers’ state semifinals game versus Shelbyville. Photo by Andrew Salmi

SAN ANTONIO — After a record-setting run, the Thrall Tigers’ season came to an end Friday in the Class 2A state semifinals with a 67-52 loss to the Shelbyville Dragons (29-7). The loss concludes a season that saw the Tigers (30-6) advance further, and win more games, than any other team in Thrall basketball history.

“This was a great achievement just to be here,” Thrall Coach Charles Tindol said. “They played their hearts out, but we feel we left a lot on the court today.”

The Tigers struggled early trying to stop Shelbyville’s D.J. Barnes. Barnes, who led all scorers with 23 points, scored 10 of the Dragons’ first 14 points, taking Shelbyville to a 14-7 lead midway through the opening quarter. But, the Tigers battled back. Steven Walker scored four quick points to trim the lead to 14-11.

From left, Thrall boys varsity basketball senior Breken Proctor, senior Steven Walker, senior Dawson Meiske and Head Coach Charles Tindol speak with the media March 8 following the Tigers’ state semifinals game versus Shelbyville.

Dawson Meiske added a turnaround jumper with 2:29 on the clock and Walker scored again on a second-chance shot that pulled the Tigers within one, at 16-15. Breken Proctor’s jumper from the left side kept the lead at one, before the Dragons’ Ja’Davian Mathis hit one of two shots from the free-throw line with 1:04 on the clock, giving the Dragons a 19-17 lead after one.

Shelbyville stretched the lead to 26-19 in the opening minutes of the second period, but once again the Tigers rallied.

Ethan Dahl’s three-point jumper from deep in the right corner cut the lead to four. Thrall continued to chip away at the lead, and when the Tigers finished the half on a 6-0 run, the halftime score was knotted at 32.

Thrall continued to battle in the third.

Dahl’s three-pointer with 5:15 to play in the third gave the Tigers their only lead of the game at 40-39. The lead was short-lived, however. The Dragons went on a 10-0 run, and while they remained hot from the field, the Tigers struggled, hitting just one field goal over the remainder of the period. By the end of the period, the Dragons held a 50-42 lead.

The Thrall High School boys varsity basketball team gathers together Friday, March 8 following the Tigers’ 67-52 loss to Shelbyville High School in the 2A state semifinals game held at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Photos by Andrew Salmi

“There are definitely ebbs and flows to the game, and the flow didn’t go our way in the second half,” Tindol said.

In the fourth quarter, Thrall continued to struggle from the field, hitting just 26% from the field. Shelbyville, meanwhile, hit 42% in the quarter and finished the game shooting 47.8% from the field.

The Dragons outscored the Tigers 17-10 over the final eight minutes to secure their spot in Saturday’s championship game against the Lipan Indians.

Meiske led the four starting Tiger seniors with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Walker finished the game with 13 points and 13 boards. Seniors Dahl and Proctor each scored 10 points in their final games, and Dahl pulled down 13 rebounds to finish out his career.

Thrall boys varsity basketball senior Breken Proctor (15) aggressively drives to the basket March 8 during the Tigers’ state semifinals contest against Shelbyville.

Tindol, who is retiring in May, said afterward that he hadn’t spent much time thinking about retirement.

“We were on a journey, so I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it,” he said. “I think this team brought a lot of excitement to Thrall with what they’ve accomplished. I think it will give Thrall a renewed emphasis on basketball going forward.”

“It felt good to join the dream with these guys, and Coach Tindol,” Walker said, regarding the team’s accomplishments and legacy. Meiske added, “I’m beyond proud of everyone on this team. I’m proud of what we’ve done this year.”

Proctor, perhaps summed it up best, however. “Everybody thought we would lose to Evadale in the second round, but we won.

Then they thought we would lose in the third round, and yet here we are. We’ve left a legacy at Thrall, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Thrall boys varsity basketball senior Ethan Dahl (24) dribbles past a defender March 8 during the Tigers’ state semifinals game versus Shelbyville.
Thrall boys varsity basketball senior Steven Walker (10) shoots a jumper March 8 during the Tigers’ state semifinals contest against Shelbyville.

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