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Iowa Park shocks Mineral Wells with
last-second shot in bi-district playoff

Iowa Park’s Hawk basketball team stunned favored Mineral Wells 57-56 with a final second buzzer-beater by Keaton Jackson in a 1-4A Bi-District game Monday night in Bowie.
With the win, Coach Payton Jackson’s Hawks improved to 11-16 on the season, and now advance to the area round tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in Jacksboro against Kennedale (Iowa Park will be home team).
Kennedale (23-12), District 7-4A champs, defeated Springtown 84-66 in their bi-district showdown.
With the loss, Mineral Wells’ season ends with a 21-14 record.
The Rams opened the game with a 5-0 lead before Iowa Park rallied for a 17-13 lead behind four 3-pointers by Jackson – who ended the game with 18 points – and a pair of layups by Cole Oxford, who totalled 13 points in all.
Jackson hit his fifth 3-pointer in the second period, and the Hawks outscored the Rams 19-12 to take a 36-25 lead at halftime intermission.
Mineral Wells changed defenses from a man-to-man to a triangle and three-man zone in the second half to effectively stop Jackson’s long-range shooting, outscoring the Hawks 13-8 in the third, and 18-13 in the final period – including a 9-0 run – and retook the lead 56-54 with 12 seconds remaining in the game.
The Hawks took the ball downcourt, and Oxford’s layup to tie the game was partially blocked. Cody Gray scrambled for control and passed to Jackson, who swished the net from 30 feet away for what appeared to be the game winner for Iowa Park.
However, Jackson had called a timeout soon as he saw Gray with possession.
Then, with 2.2 seconds remaining, the ball was inbounded to Jackson.
According to the Hawk coach, the play called during the timeout was for Hayden Harris to get the ball for a two-point effort to send the game into overtime.
However, Jackson found space at almost the identical spot to his previous shot, and sent off another effort with less than a second remaining.
And it was “nothing but net” as the 3-pointer sealed the win for Iowa Park, with the Rams players frozen on the floor and Hawk players chasing Jackson down the court in celebration.
“It was a great game,” said the Hawk coach. “We kind of had a sluggish third quarter. They changed up defenses and really got after Keaton and Cole. The other three on the floor (among them Matthew Cooper, Ryan Miser, Dylan Meyer, Conner Rhoades, Harris and Grey) did a great job – we basically played three-on-three basketball for about nine minutes.
“Once we kind of got in rythym and started scoring, they (Mineral Wells) switched back to man defense, which really helped us out,” Jackson continued. “Keaton shot the ball extremely well. Hayden had a double-double. Cole had six assists. The ones that needed to step up and play well did. It was a very good win against a team that is very good.”
As for Jackson’s game-winning 3-pointer, Coach Jackson said “It wasn’t him making the shot that I was so fired up about ... it was the significance of it. I’ve seen him make it a hundred times. In our transition drills (in practice) he’ll stop at the volleyball line and shoot. So the actual making of the shot didn’t surprise me, it was him making it twice, in pretty much the same spot.”
Oxford’s big night included six assists, five rebounds, and two steals despite being hounded the entire game by Ram guard Cameron Weiss, who fouled out late in the fourth period.
Harris finished with a double-double, including 12 points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.
Just as important, Harris managed to keep senior Ram post Broderick Johnson below his game average in scoring and on the boards. Johnson did finish as high-scorer in the game with 20 points, and added eight rebounds.
Meyer added six points for the Hawks, while Cooper and Gray each scored three, and Miser two.
The Wildcats tied Midlothian Heritage in District 7-4A play with identical 7-1 records, then took top seeding in a one-game playoff. Kennedale then dispatched Springtown 84-66 in the bi-district round.
Their top player is guard Brandon Conwright – who has a good blend of speed and shooting ability – and post Colton Otts.
Mineral Wells upset Kennedale 90-86 in overtime earlier this season, though the Wildcats defeated the Rams last year in the bi-district round.
Asked what he expects from Kennedale tomorrow night in Jacksboro, Jackson said “Pressure. Very, very tough pressure.
“I think physically they can match up with us. They are probably a little bit quicker at the guard spot, and I think they’ll try to exploit that.”
As for the keys to a Hawk win, Jackson replied “Play very good defense. I think the boys will respond. They are extremely excited and hungry. I think it will be a special night. I sure hope it is.”