TROPHY CLUB — A sudden bout of ice-cold shooting by Whitewright resulted in an equally-abrupt end to the Tigers’ basketball season on Friday night.

TROPHY CLUB — A sudden bout of ice-cold shooting by Whitewright resulted in an equally-abrupt end to the Tigers’ basketball season on Friday night.


Even despite shooting just 7-of-38 from the field in the final three periods of play, the Tigers still had a chance to survive in the final seconds. But a 3-point try for the win was blocked, and Millsap pulled off a 37-35 stunner in a Class 2A Region II area-round game at Byron Nelson High School.


"They hit some deep 3s and fed off the energy of their crowd," Whitewright coach Brian Blackburn said. "They played a really great second half. They shut us down down low, and kind of got rolling."


Millsap (13-12), the fourth-place team out of District 9-2A, will take on district rival Ponder in the region quarterfinals on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in Aledo.


Six-foot-seven junior Mason Riggins had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (21-10), including a pair of spectacular dunks: one on an alley-oop pass from classmate Dane Robinson, and another on a follow at the end of the first half that gave Whitewright a 10-point lead.


But in the second half, the Bulldogs, with a front line that went 6-6, 6-4 and 6-3, took Riggins out of the equation with double- and triple-teams in the paint, daring the Tigers to shoot from the perimeter.


"I thought our guys competed really well," Blackburn said. "We just missed some open shots. They had a great defensive game plan to pack it in down low. I give those guys a lot of credit. They’re a hot team right now."


It was that poor shooting performance that ultimately proved to be the Tigers’ downfall. But freshman Desmond McNiel, who added nine points off the bench for Whitewright, gave the Tigers an opportunity to pull the game out of the fire in the final minute.


McNiel was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made two of three from the charity stripe, and then he nailed a trey from the left wing with about eight seconds left to make it a one-point game.


"Desmond’s come a long way," Blackburn said. "He’s a good teammate with the guys and he’s coachable. Desmond has a bright future for us."


Millsap’s Mich Channer was quickly fouled and made his first free throw, but missed the second and Riggins rebounded with 6.6 seconds left. Riggins pushed the ball to Avery Dodson, whose 3-point try from the right wing was blocked. Dodson got the ball back but couldn’t get another shot off in time.


The Tigers finished the game 3-of-23 from behind the arc.


Whitewright’s lead dwindled in the third quarter as Millsap’s Jaxon Martin, who finished with 12 points, and Michael Rogers each hit 3-pointers to make it 25-22 going into the final eight minutes.


Then with about six minutes to go, Martin hit another trey from the left wing, and for the first time all night, the Bulldogs led, 27-25.


Whitewright briefly regained the upper hand at the 5:35 mark when Riggins hit a basket and was fouled, and Millsap coach Josh Jones drew a technical foul, protesting that the foul was before the shot. Riggins missed his free throw and Robinson made one of his two technical tosses for a 28-27 edge.


But Martin sank two free throws with 4:53 left to give Millsap the lead back, and the Bulldogs never trailed again.


The first half looked like it would be a walkover for Whitewright as the Tigers shot 6-of-11 from the floor in the first eight minutes and held Millsap to three points in the first period and eight total in the half.


The Tigers opened with a 7-0 lead on a Dylan Bottoms 3-pointer, Riggins’ alley-oop dunk, and a Dennis Black putback.


"We came out really aggressive and did a good job of running our sets," Blackburn said. "In the second half, they made adjustments and we didn’t get the first options on some of those."