PFLUGERVILLE - Micah Williams may have saved Hendrickson’s season.
With the Hawks on the verge of falling to 2-5 in District 13-6A play and facing what would almost be an impossible uphill climb into the postseason, Williams swished a three-pointer with less than a minute left Jan. 14 that turned out to be the winning shot in Hendrickson’s 60-58 home win over Round Rock.
“It’s a play where I intentionally blast to the corner against a zone defense,” Williams said. “They swung it to me where I was wide open. Really, it was my teammates who did everything, I just had to knock the shot down. … It felt great to do it, because we really needed a bucket.”
Williams’ shot came out of a timeout and answered a three-pointer from Dragons senior Jack Peterson moments earlier that culminated an 11-2 run by Round Rock to give it a 58-56 lead, its first since 2-0.
Hendrickson (14-10, 3-4 District 13-6A) never panicked. Following Williams’ three, the Hawks stopped Round Rock on two possessions while Duce Hester hit a free throw to reach the game’s final tally.
“I’m happy to get a win,” Hendrickson coach Dustin White said. “We were good at times and also had some rough patches, but I’m proud of the guys because we’ve had issues late in games executing things. What we drew up in practice worked, and that shows growth, because we’ve been in this situation almost every district game except for the ones we won.”
The Hawks led 33-22 early in the third after Kayden Crosby hit his third three of the game, but the Dragons (14-9, 3-4) rallied to within 45-43 entering the fourth behind six points from both Jae’lyn Brooks and Larson Featherstone.
Jaden Williams, who led all scorers with 20 points for Hendrickson and was almost unguardable at times during the second half, scored five straight points to push the Hawks’ lead to 54-45 midway through the fourth.
“I looked at it as we really needed a win — especially at home since we haven’t won at home during district play — and I just did my job and did what I could do to help us win,” Jaden Williams said.
Ironically, in a game that featured very little fouling, the Dragons hit eight free throws prior to Peterson’s shot during their 11-2 run.
Hester finished with 10 points to join Jaden Williams in double figures for Hendrickson, while Featherstone (15 points), Brooks (14), Seth Ford (12) and Braden Lee (10) all reached double digits for Round Rock.
In coming down to the final minute, the game played out like Hendrickson’s four previous district losses did. But unlike a one-point overtime loss to Vandegrift and a buzzer-beater defeat to Westwood, this time the Hawks came out on top.
And with six teams in the district sporting either 4-3 or 3-4 district records after Tuesday, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s a huge win,” White said. “That three-pointer by (Micah Williams) may have kept us in the playoff hunt. Mathematically, we wouldn’t have been out of it with a loss, but in the big scheme of things, if you’re just being realistic, of the teams that are fighting for the three playoff spots behind Vandegrift, we had to get a win. Now, we have to keep on winning.”