PLANO – To say Mason Accidentale had an amazing day on the basketball court would be an understatement.
Not only did Plano’s senior floor leader eclipse the 1,000-point mark in his outstanding prep career, but he also scored a game-high 20 points.
He capped it off with an awe-inspiring 3-pointer on the run as time expired in overtime to give the Reapers a scintillating 61-58 victory over Morris during the consolation championship game of the 58th Annual Plano Christmas Classic Thursday afternoon in Reaper Gymnasium.
With the game tied and five seconds to go in the extra session, Accidentale took an inbounds pass after a time out and raced through a bevy of Morris defenders. He launched an off-balance triple from the left wing that found nothing but net as the home crowd erupted in triumph.
“I passed up a 3-pointer late in regulation to possibly win it there and my teammates really wanted me to take that one,” Accidentale said. “So I wasn’t about to disappoint them and pass another one up. It was the heat of the moment going that far so quickly and I wanted it to count and thankfully it did.”
Accidentale’s heroics wouldn’t have been possible had not senior post player Carion Hale, who scored 18 points, nailed a trey of his own from the right baseline with 31 seconds to play in overtime that tied the score at 58 apiece and set the stage for Accidentale’s magical moment.
“We were down three and Morris was double teaming me in the post so I figured if I went out for the 3 they wouldn’t pay any mind to me,” Hale said. “I had confidence in my shot because I made a 3-pointer earlier and I’ve worked on it a lot this year. I just let it go and it went in. Then it was up to Mason to finish it off. What a great feeling for all of us winning such a big game on our home court during our tournament.”
It was Plano’s third victory in a row after its narrow opening round defeat to No. 5 seed and fourth-place finisher Northridge Prep. The Reapers (6-5) also received 10 points and eight assists from senior Josh Padilla as well as 10 points from Kam Williams to record their third consolation title at the Classic since 2015 with Accidentale stepping up front and center.
“What a day for him (Accidentale) with a thousand points first, then hitting the game winner in a huge tournament on his home court,” Plano coach Kyle Kee said. “Who could’ve asked for more from him as a coach, his team, or for himself. Just an amazing performance to say the least.”
Morris (9-6) finished the tournament with a 2-2 record after the heartbreaking defeat. Sophomore A.J. Zweeres led the way with 12 points ahead senior Gage Phillips, junior Henry Hensen who posted 11 points each. Senior Zach Romak finished with 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
But it wasn’t quite enough to overcome the Reapers on Accidentale’s special night.
“Give Plano credit because they had two seniors who hit big shots in overtime when they needed to,” Morris coach Joe Blumberg said. “We started off slow tonight, had a chance to win it in the end but we just couldn’t close it out. But I’m proud of the guys and I feel even though we lost a very tough ballgame we got better as a result of playing in a great tournament here at Plano.”
During a mistake filled first quarter where both teams turned the ball over a combined 13 times Plano led 6-3 after eight minutes.
Hale chipped in a low-post deuce at 7:40 of the second quarter and added a left-wing triple at 6:40 to give the Reapers an 11-5 lead.
Accidentale’s first points of the game followed soon thereafter with a right-baseline 3-pointer that gave Plano a 17-12 advantage and put him in the Plano history books with points 1,000 and 1,001.
“I think the shot I made to get to a thousand was harder than any other shot I took tonight including the game winner,” Accidentale said. “I wanted to make that shot to get to a thousand so badly and earlier I was just missing. But thankfully it finally happened. I feel so honored to be part of such an elite group of basketball players in the history of Plano High School.”
But the Redskins rallied from there with a 12-6 run to go up 24-23 at the half as Phillips nailed a free-throw line jumper at the buzzer.
The two clubs battled neck-and-neck in the third period with the only thing separating them being a 3-pointer by Zweeres at the horn that gave Morris a 41-38 lead entering the final frame.
There, Accidentale posted seven points that eventually helped give Plano a 53-50 lead before Phillips drained a left wing trey with 57 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime.
After Hale opened the extra session with an inside layup to put the Reapers ahead 55-53 with 1:25 to go, Morris netted five and six free throws to regain the lead at 58-55 before Hale and Accidentale closed out the proceedings in dramatic fashion.