For every run Simpson put together to try and distance itself in the second half, Gibsland-Coleman had an answer. Until it didn't.
With a spot in the state semifinals in Lake Charles on the line, Simpson made enough plays at the end to defeat the Bulldogs 61-58 Friday night at Simpson High School.
"It was great team win and a great effort," Simpson head coach Jade Losavio said. "That team is very good. They didn't quit, and we didn't quit. We just made some more plays at the end pull ahead and got the victory.
"We got into this business to play in quarterfinal games."
The win puts the Broncos into the semifinals for the second year in a row and in contention for its first ever state title.
"I think we have more scoring options this year," Simpson guard Cameron Bettez said. "Last year, we weren't as developed, and I think we can go a little bit farther this year."
Simpson trailed 45-41 heading into the fourth quarter, but took the lead on a 3-pointer from Bettez with 6:35 left in the game.
After the Bettez 3, Gibsland-Coleman put together a 6-0 run to retake the advantage.
"Hind sight is 20/20, but I tried to change my defense on the fly but it was so loud that they didn't get the call," Losavio said. "They got a layup. Next time, we have to trust what we're doing and stay with it."
For the next five minutes, the Broncos and Bulldogs exchanged baskets until a layup by Dustin Williams tied the game up at 56.
On the next possession, Bettez was fouled on a jumper and hit both of his free throws to take the first lead since early in the quarter.
"When we're down like that, I liked to drive the lane and get an easy bucket or kick it out," Bettez said. "I try to get the offense going."
Gibsland-Coleman quickly tied it up with a pair of free throws of its own, but Williams hit a pair of free throws to once again take the lead.
Williams split a pair to give the Broncos a 3-point lead, and the defense held up in the final 12 seconds to seal its spot in Lake Charles.
The Bulldogs outscored the Broncos 14-6 in the second quarter and found lanes to the basket throughout the contest.
"They were just one step ahead of us," Simpson forward Landon Hall said. "We worked all week on sliding out feet, and we did that late at the end of the game to get some stops.
"This team is something special. We're ready for that March push."
Bettez led Simpson with 23 points, while Williams and Hall each added 17 points.
The No. 2 Broncos will take on No. 3 Singer in the Class C State Semifinals at Burton Coliseum.
"We may play on Monday," Losavio said. "We'll rest tomorrow and practice on Sunday. I'm an old school guy. Practice makes perfect."