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The Warren County Sports Authority is a proud supporter of the 3-Point Club and everything is does to help the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers. As a courtesy to the 3-Point Club and all elementary basketball fans, our 7-8 grade tournament coverage will be presented free of charge. If you enjoy great local coverage, consider purchasing subscription to the WCSA website today:


When the Dibrell Wildcats and Morrison Eagles clash with the title on the line, it’s always going to be an epic night. Friday’s matchup was no different, with the 3-Point Club Finals coming down to the last minute.

Morrison was able to outlast Dibrell down the stretch, winning 38-35 to finish the season with 12 straight victories in the 7-8 grade league.

Isaiah Robledo led the Eagles with 16 points, earning MVP honors along the way, while Braden Haggins drilled two gigantic 3-pointers in the fourth to help Morrison hold off the Wildcats late. Dibrell, which trailed 27-14 at halftime, was able to tie the game late, but couldn’t get over the hump in the last seconds.

The 3-Point Club championship settled who would win the most first-place trophies between the programs. Morrison came into the game off a perfect 10-0 regular season, but Dibrell already had one tournament title as it took home the Morrison Ruritan preseason championship by beating the Eagles.

Morrison coach Chris Roberson felt like that loss back in November helped fuel his team’s unbeaten run over the final three months and a sweep of the regular season and postseason titles.

“Throughout the year, we worked on our attitudes and got better at fighting back. We found a warrior mentality when things got tough,” said Roberson. “The preseason game against Dibrell, I felt like maybe we thought we deserved it without working for it, but through the season, we worked for it. Nothing was given and they fought through and finished the season strong.”

Fighting to the very end was exactly what Morrison had to do once the Wildcats roared back in the finals. The Eagles’ 13-point halftime lead was already down to six by the start of the fourth quarter, but it continued to shrink as Dibrell found ways to get to the rim.

Chance Whitlock was a big reason for the rally, scoring a game-high 19 points while earning all-tournament honors. Whitlock put Dibrell on his back in the third, scoring seven straight points during one spurt, then continued to put pressure on Morrison with his shot-blocking in the fourth.

By the time Kobe Brand drilled a corner 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, the Wildcats had the deficit down to 30-27. Haggins responded with a triple of his own though, one of two big outside shots he would hit for Morrison in the fourth.

Dibrell didn’t get discouraged after Haggins swished his triple, which was sealed with celebration where he acted like an archer letting loose the perfect arrow. Lee-Allen Esparza answered right back, racing the length of the court on a fast break for a layup that cut it back to 33-29.

Things got tough for Morrison with 4:15 left when Luke Saldana, Morrison’s big man who had the size to battle Whitlock, fouled out on an offensive foul. Dibrell didn’t hesitate to attack a smaller Eagle lineup, with Whitlock going straight to the rim for a layup with 4:09 left that made it a two-point game.

The paint attacks continued with 3:10 left, with Esparza banking in a runner that tied the game at 33. It set the stage for a frantic finish, one that would be settled by Haggins throwing heat from deep.

Isaiah Robledo, tourney MVP, and Braden Haggins hit huge shots down the stretch for Morrison Friday night (Painted Barn Media)


Both teams missed chances over a minute stretch to take the lead, with turnovers keeping the game tied going into the final two minutes. Haggins finally broke the tie with 1:40 left, drilling a deep 3-pointer from the right wing before unleashing a big fist pump and scream.

“Braden came through at clutch times. When we needed a basket, he was there. It was a huge confidence boost a couple of times late,” said coach Roberson.

Morrison followed the triple by forcing a turnover with its press, then Isaiah Robledo went to work. The talented point guard sliced through the lane for a layup, pushing the Eagles up 38-33 with 1:03 left.

Esparza came back with a layup of his own with 49 seconds left, but Dibrell’s deficit was still three, 38-35, and fouling the Eagles wasn’t easy. The Wildcats entered the last minute with just three fouls, meaning it would have play for a quick steal or foul four times to extend the game. Morrison was able to protect the ball and run 44 seconds off the clock by playing keepaway, ultimately resulting in Isaiah going to the line with 5.5 seconds left.

He missed the free throw, but Dibrell – without a timeout – could not get off a shot as it tried to make one last rally.

“It was a tough loss, but we could’ve folded (after falling down early),” said Dibrell coach Dustin Curtis. “I think how we rallied shows what grit and determination this team has.”

It would have been easy for the Wildcats to give up hope early, especially with Morrison’s impressive shot making in the first half. The Robledo brothers both had jaw-dropping triples as the Eagles raced out to a double-digit lead by the break.

Isaiah’s big-time shot came in the final seconds of the first quarter. Controlling the ball near midcourt with time dwindling down, Isaiah made no effort to attack. Instead, he decided he would pull up from several steps behind the line before the buzzer. His plan worked – he hit nothing but net on the 27-footer as Morrison led 17-6 after six minutes.

Kristopher Robledo, who finished with nine points, got his chance to shine in the second quarter. Kristopher didn’t hit a buzzer beater, but his step-back 3-pointer over two Wildcats left Dibrell grasping at straws on ways to slow down Morrison’s early onslaught from deep.

Braxton Gibbs, an all-tournament selection, also had a 3-pointer in the first half as Morrison took an early lead and grew it to 13 by halftime. Dibrell wouldn’t quit though, which didn’t surprise the Eagles or their coach.

“I give a lot of credit to Dibrell. They did a great job battling back,” said Roberson.

Following the game, the 3-Point Club honored the standouts from both squads in the finals. Isaiah Robledo was given the MVP, while Haggins, Gibbs and Kristopher Robledo were named to the all-tournament team. Whitlock, Esparza and Syler Simmons earned all-tournament from Dibrell.

Eagle scoring – Isaiah Robledo 16, Braden Haggins 10, Kristopher Robledo 9, Braxton Gibbs 3

Wildcat scoring – Chance Whitlock 19, Lee-Allen Esparza 10, Kobe Brand 3, Syler Simmons 2, Jace Matheney 1

Consolation Game

Irving College 55

Eastside 31

Tiger scoring – Corban Felton 19, Anden Green 15, Brayden Snider 10, Wesley Clendenon 6, Jonas Bailey 5

Bulldog scoring – Lex Winfree 19, Christian Munoz 6, Jake Gillespie 4, Donnivin Johnson 2

Corban Felton, Anden Green and Wesley Clendenon were named to the all-tournament team from the Tigers, while Lex Winfree earned all-tournament accolades for Eastside.


CLICK HERE for Painted Barn Media photos

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