It wasn't the ending he envisioned, but Estacado coach Tony Wagner couldn't have been prouder of his squad.
Especially his group of seniors.
The Matadors, who graduate five seniors off their roster, fell to Abilene Wylie 74-70 in the Region I-4A semifinals Friday night at the Rip Griffin Center.
"This is the absolute best group of seniors that I have coached," said Wagner, whose team finished its season at 26-6. "Nobody expected them to do anything. We lost some key kids from last year and they fought and fought. Even tonight showed the true grit of those kids. They are going to be successful in life and further along the line."
Estacado was very much in the game until the end. Matador senior Jordan Sherman hit a pair of free-throws and Bryan Rector split a pair to cut the Bulldogs lead to 70-67 with 33 seconds in the fourth quarter.
But Wylie (33-3) wasn't an easy team to get the jump on.
"Our road to get here, we have played tough games," Bulldog coach Gregg Ruffin said. "Our guys hit some clutch free-throws and fought off a great Estacado team. So, we are able to have the opportunity to play tomorrow."
Wylie finished the game from the free-throw line, finishing 25-of-33 on Friday night, and will face Seminole in the regional final.
"We are familiar with Seminole," Ruffin said. "They are a good team and that is why they are playing tomorrow. The both of us have that opportunity to play at 1 p.m. tomorrow. ... Hopefully, it will be a good game. Hats off to them. Hats off to everybody that's played tonight. It was a very good regional tournament."
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Dylan Isenhower, Sr., Abilene Wylie
The senior guard finished the game with 22 points and eight rebounds.
Despite the loss, Estacado featured the game's leading scorer in Bryan Rector. He scored a game-high 26 points.
Abilene Wylie faces the Indians in the regional final at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Rip Griffin Center.
ABILENE WYLIE 74, ESTACADO 70
Individual scorers: Wylie, Dylan Isenhower 22, Kyle Roberts 19, Sam King 9, Thomas Lynch 8, Payton Brooks 8, Steven Lopez 5, Duncan Bacon 3; Estacado, Bryan Rector 26, Aldon Johnson 18, Jordan Sherman 9, Larry Morrison 6, Kobe McQueen 5, Donald Young 3, DreShawn Conwright 3. Records: Wylie 33-3; Estacado 26-6.