Thomas earned a 63-58 victory over Preston on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Class 2A basketball state tournament on the campus of Oklahoma City University.
The fifth-ranked Terriers led for most of the second half, but held on only after Preston’s Jadon Huffman missed a contested 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have tied the game.
“That was an exciting game,” said Thomas head coach Jim Petree. “Any ballgame as well-played as that one is a huge victory. I thought both teams played very well.”
The Terriers were paced by 22 points from Chezden Nease, including six crucial free throws in the final minutes. Trent Dunaway added 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting for Thomas.
Petree was proud of the way his two star players performed.
“They are both outstanding players and they make all the players around them better,” said Petree. “Fortunately today both of them had outstanding games for us.”
Thomas advances to the semifinals tomorrow at 6 p.m. The Terriers led by as many as seven points in the third quarter, but had to thwart off a furious comeback effort from Preston.
Koby Goodman led Preston with 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
The first half went back-and-forth with both teams embarking on huge runs. Preston went on a 12-0 run, including six points from Goodman, to take a 19-12 advantage early in the second quarter. The Terriers responded with six straight points from Dunaway and took the lead at 25-13 on a 3-pointer from Hayden Herrera.
Two more layups from Goodman helped Preston re-gain the lead, but a Dunaway 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Thomas a 30-28 lead at the break.
Dunaway scored six points during an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter that gave Thomas a 42-35, its largest lead of the game.