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Cole Cougars win UIL 3A basketball state title

It's the team's first championship since 1989.

SAN ANTONIO — The Cole Cougars defeated the Tatum Eagles 77-60 at the Alamodome Friday to clinch the UIL 3A boys basketball state title. It's the first title for the Cougars since 1989 when Shaquille O'Neal led the squad to a championship.

A low-scoring effort in the first quarter for both teams kept things close, but Cole outscored the Eagles 23-16 in the second quarter and 31-12 in the third frame to pull away for the victory.

The Cougars considered this year's title run a second chance opportunity to make up for last year's canceled tournament. Cole was the last team in Texas to win a playoff game before the UIL shut down the Alamodome during the 2020 tournament.

“You never know if you’re going to get back, you never know if you’re going to get back to a state tournament—let alone a state championship," Cole High School head coach Noe Cantu said ahead of Friday's title game.

Some players from last year’s team are gone, but many still remain.

“It really broke me because I had a lot of people, a lot of bonds on the team that I wanted to win with last year. But, you know, COVID broke that down," Ray said. "It kind of put a chip on me to come back this year and win.”