DRC_Guyer Wildcats

COPPELL — Over the past three years, Class 6A Region I has presented several unique challenges for Guyer in the postseason.

In 2018, Allen stopped the Wildcats one game short of advancing to the state tournament. Then last season, Guyer lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Duncanville in the region final. Both of those teams went on to win state titles.

And on Friday night, Richardson became the latest team to halt the Wildcats’ playoff run.

Behind a devastating performance from the backcourt duo of Rylen Griffen and Cason Wallace, the Eagles took down Guyer 75-66 in the 6A Region I area round at Coppell High School.

“Those two guys were unbelievable,” Guyer coach Grant Long said of Griffen and Wallace. “The big shots they hit were huge. It’s not like they weren’t contested. They’re phenomenal players, and they’re going to be really special.”

Griffen and Wallace combined for 53 of Richardson’s 75 points, hitting several clutch shots down the stretch. Wallace provided the dagger with 1:55 left, stepping into a 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 66-60 advantage.

“When they’re hitting shots like that, you have to continue to score,” Long said. “You knew at some point [Griffen and Wallace] were going to get going. It’s really tough. We wanted to trap one of them but they have another one right there. They throw it over the top and then you’re at a disadvantage.”

Guyer led 21-19 after the first quarter and extended its lead to 25-19 on a Kye Lindsay lob from JaKobe Coles. But Richardson ended the first half on a 14-6 run, stealing momentum and the lead before the intermission.

The Wildcats managed to tie the game in the third quarter and even took a 41-39 lead, but the Eagles quickly regained control and never relinquished it. Offensive rebounds were backbreakers for Guyer, as Richardson scored 12 second-chance points in the third frame.

“I really just felt like those offensive rebounds — we bust our tail to get them to miss a shot, and then they get the rebound, bucket and-one,” Long said. “They were just killers.”

Ty McGhie led the Wildcats in scoring in his final game with 24 points. JaKobe Coles added 14. Those two, along with Ryan Barnes and Amaechi Chukwu, will be the four main seniors Guyer loses to graduation.

The Wildcats return Lindsay, Jace Wilson, Brayden Bradshaw and others after finishing this season 28-5 overall.

“It shows Guyer basketball’s tradition,” Long said. “Guys are continuing to put in work and carry that on after great players have left. We still have great players coming. I’m just proud they carried that forward and battled with one of the best teams in the state. I’m just super proud of their effort. I think if we block out on some possessions we’re right there to win the game.”

Only time will tell if Richardson joins the ranks of Allen and Duncanville to also win 6A championships, but Long and his team know — and readily embrace — the challenge of competing in Region I.

“They know what it is,” Long said. “They know it’s 6A basketball. That’s why they’re part of it. They want to be on that stage. They want to be in this arena playing this type of game, because they’re talented, special kids. I’m proud they have that mindset. They always want to be in the biggest games playing the best teams.”

REECE WADDELL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @ReeceWaddell15.

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