One year later, it was all worth it. The heartbreak, the pain, the blood and sweat, were all washed away by the sweet taste of victory.
Boise State signee Paris Austin, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound point guard, avenged a 2014 state-title loss to Mater Dei by defeating the Monarchs 65-64 in overtime Saturday night for the California championship.
Austin breathed a sigh of relief. The Mater Dei monkey was off his back.
Austin led the victorious Bishop O’Dowd Dragons in scoring with 21 points, and also added seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one block.
“I’m very excited,” a still-worn out Austin said Sunday evening. “Last night, as a team, we did something great. We were trailing the whole game, but we took them into overtime and won. It was something special.”
In the extra period with the scored tied 64-64, Austin drove the lane and dished to center Ivan Rabb, who was fouled with .8 seconds remaining. Rabb airballed the first free throw, but sunk the second. When the final buzzer sounded, the celebration began.
Mater Dei had won the previous four state championships.
“They’ve won a lot of state championships. Last year we were just not able to beat them,” Austin said. “It was extremely hard. Their coach is very smart and knows how to read defenses. He makes a lot of reads on the floor where guys can get open. They got a lot of easy baskets on us. We had to fight for ours.”
Story-book ending complete for his high school career, Austin has quickly set his sights on what’s next; donning the blue and orange of Boise State, with whom the three-star prospect signed in November. Late Saturday night he posted a message on Twitter: “On to the next chapter now. Mission part 2.”
“It’s all about Boise State now,” Austin said Sunday. “I want to be able to have a big impact on the team. I want to win newcomer of the year as a freshman and win the conference. My goals are set.”
And what Austin saw from the Broncos this season has him chomping at the bit for his chance to suit up. With a pass-first, play-making mentality, Boise State is getting a floor general that many recruiting experts regard as an absolute steal for BSU.
“It gets me very excited because I love the way (Boise State) plays together,” Austin said. “Derrick Marks is a great player. I love the staff and what they’re able to do with the team.”
“I’m different from Derrick because I like to get my teammates the ball a little more. He was a tremendous scorer and loved to do that. I can help being a vocal leader just like him and just like Anthony Drmic. I can be just the same in that way.”
Austin compares Rabb (a top-10 national recruit) to future Boise State teammate James Webb III. And if what Austin and Rabb were able to do together in high school is any indication of the future, Bronco fans can expect a plethora of alley-oops and wide-open looks for Webb III courtesy of the incoming point guard.
“When I was on my visit (to Boise), I played with James Webb III,” Austin said. “He plays hard, he blocks shots, he runs and he makes shots. He’s a great player.
“I want to be able to get my teammates involved first. Then when I need to make plays, I’ll make plays.”
Austin will arrive in Boise this summer along with fellow signee Malek Harwell, a shooting guard from Pocatello, Idaho.