No. 12 Atascocita downs No. 14 Summer Creek 52-51 to punch ticket to State Tournament in Instant Thriller

No. 12 Atascocita downs No. 14 Summer Creek 52-51 to punch ticket to State Tournament in Instant Thriller (Copyright (c) 2021 VYPE - All rights reserved)

HOUSTON - All David Martinez knew is that his team needed to get a stop.

Atascocita leading 52-51, following a circus-level acrobatic shot from senior Tom Hart III to put them up by one with 4.2 seconds remaining in Friday's Region III-6A Championship, Martinez knew rival-Summer Creek would try and go at the basket one more time.

And they did.

With time running off the clock, the Bulldogs fired one last shot attempt, which in live-action looked for a second like it may have beat the buzzer, which sent the Summer Creek fans and team into a frenzy. But instantly, the referee ran to center court waving his arms saying the shot did not count.

Atascocita was heading back to the UIL State Tournament.

"Honest;y, all I saw was the referee waving it off to be honest with you," Martinez said. "I can't even put it into words. It's an incredible feeling. These young men here [Justin Collins and Tom Hart III] have been here by my side for four years and we've worked extremely hard.

"My hat goes off to Summer Creek and Kenneth Coleman and his group. That was an unbelievable battle."

Summer Creek finishes the season with their best finish in school history by reaching the Regional Finals. It marks the first time the Bulldogs have ever reached this point of the year.

But for Coleman, who is in his third season leading this team, the expectation for his program is for them to be right where they are and even farther.

"I have one goal as a coach and it's to be a state champion, period," Coleman, who led Port Arthur Memorial to the Class 5A State Championship in 2018, said. "I don't enter any season with my goal just being to be the district champion. It feels good, I have some super kids but my goal is to be a state champion. I know it's a progression.

"I feel like this team is good enough to be a state champion."

Atascocita is returning to the UIL State Tournament for the second time in program history.

The last time the Eagles reached this level came back in 2015-2016. That year, Atascocita played for the Class 6A State title but fell short to DeSoto, finishing the season 38-1. That team was led by current Boston Celtics player Carsen Edwards and current University of Houston standout Fabian White Jr.

Now, these Atascocita Eagles are set to play Austin Westlake in the State Semifinals early next week with a location, date and time to be determined.