By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Frost boys will play in another regional final this school year.
The Polar Bears did it again with the same cast of characters as in football, pulling away in the second half for a 67-50 victory over Bellevue on Friday in the Region III-1A DII semifinal at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
Frost (18-6) will play Roxton in the regional final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Tyler Junior College. The winner will go to the UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament next week in Austin.
It continues a dream school year in athletics for the Frost boys.
Frost won three playoffs games to get to the regional finals in football, where the Polar Bears lost in heartbreaking fashion to Tenaha. The Bears, who came in second in District 19-1A DII in basketball, have now won four playoff games in two weeks.
Remarkably, the Bears have done it with the same coach, Eric Blenden, for both football and basketball. Jimmy Alexander has been an assistant for both teams.
"It's all about the kids," Frost coach Eric Blenden said. "They've bought in and they work hard. They play as a team."
The Polar Bears did it Friday by dominating the final quarter. They led by a point at halftime and three points at the end of three, then outscored Bellevue 28-14 in fourth quarter.
Danial Steels scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth. He started the quarter with a layup, and after a 3-pointer by Jacob Stroder, Steels made two free throws to give Frost a 46-36 lead with 6:18 left in the game.
Bellevue (27-8) cut the lead to 46-40 with 5:50 left. But the Polar Bears answered with a 15-7 run to seal the win. Andrew Jackson took three of his six charges during that stretch.
"That's what we do," Blenden said. "We work on taking charges in practice all the time."
Frost used hard work at both ends of the court to take a 29-28 lead at halftime. Jackson completed a 3-point play to give Frost a 26-25 lead with :54.1 seconds left in the first half. After Bellevue's Broc Terry made a free throw to tie the game, Steels made a free throw, then missed one and Jackson got a rebound and a putback for a 29-26 lead.
The Polar Bears played hard-nosed defense throughout. Frost took at least eight charges. Bellevue's leading scorer, Brandt Cassetty, was held to 11 points.
"We knew we had to slow him down," Blenden said. "And we did it."
Frost 67, Bellevue 50
Frost 14 15 11 28 -- 67
Bellevue 14 14 8 14 -- 50
Frost -- Andrew Jackson 7, Jacob Stroder 14, Danial Steels 19, Robert Worley 9, Ryan Worley 4, Colton Clayton 8, Maliko Bruce 6.
Bellevue -- Broc Terry 14, Matthew Belcher 11, Brandt Cassetty 11, Tyler Terry 11, John M. Grunseich 2, Emilio Mendoza 1.
Records -- Frost 18-6, Bellevue 27-8.