Thomas guard Chezden Nease finally got his 3-point shot going again. That was the key to his 22-point performance that helped give Thomas a 43-37 victory over Merritt in the first round of the Class 2A state tournament.
“My 3s haven't been falling over the last few games,” Nease said. “I feel like I just got my stroke back tonight. Once I got the 3s to go I could pump fake and get to the rim to finish.”
Nease's biggest points came in the third quarter with the game tied at 27. That's when the sophomore scored seven straight points for the Terriers, including a deep 3-pointer with a hand in his face, to give them their first lead of the game.
Thomas (21-6) came into the tournament unranked, while Merritt (29-2) was No. 3 in Class 2A.
“We had confidence in ourselves even though maybe no one else did,” Nease said. “We like it that way. I don't know what it is, but we just play better as the underdog.”