In their final tune up prior to the start of District 5-4A action, the Brownwood Lions raced out to a 29-point lead early in the third quarter and finished with a 60-45 victory over the Brady Bulldogs Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
The Lions improved to 13-9 on the season heading into next Tuesday’s district opener against Big Spring.
“We looked great for the first 2½ quarters, then Brady had a 15-0 run,” said Lions first-year head coach Nadir Dalleh. “When we have the opportunity to have a big lead we have to quit giving them up, and we’ve done that the last few games. But we’re winning and that makes the difference. I don’t remember the last time the boys have been 13-9 going into district. I know it’s been a while, but that record doesn’t matter now. This is when the season really starts.”
Ten Lions scored, including nine in the first half alone, as Blaine Hughes led the charge with 13 points followed by Corleone Pressley with 12. McLane Moore added eight points trailed by A.J. McCarty with seven, Sean Yoder with five, Blake Bronniman with four, Tristin Revada, Bryson Wells and Xavier Porter with three apiece and Blaize Infinger with two points.
“Those guys who are coming off the bench are great, no matter who it is,” Dalleh said. “I’ve changed a few starters here and there, but those guys come off and give us energy and play hard. The guys want to win more than anything, it’s been a while. They want to win and have fun and I think we’re doing that.”
Brownwood used a 26-3 run midway through the second period into the third to turn a six-point edge into a 43-14 cushion with 5:12 left before the fourth quarter.
“That was great to see,” Dalleh said. “I think it was the Jacksboro game where the kids really started coming together and playing as a team. They’re getting out and running the floor and that was big tonight. If the other team isn’t going to get back we need to take advantage of that and capitalize on that, and we had a lot of fast break points tonight.”
With the Lions’ lead on the brink of 30 points, Brady fired back with a run of 15 unanswered to trim the deficit to 43-29 at the 2:17 mark of the third.
“We weren’t taking very smart shots on offense, we weren’t taking our time,” Dalleh said of the slump that allowed Brady to shave Brownwood’s lead in half. “It was like everyone was trying to get their points and we have to get out of that. Defensively, we didn’t have our hands in their faces and when they start hitting threes, we have to extend.”
The 14-point margin was as close as Brady came as the Lions pushed the lead to 47-31 at the end of the third period, and on three occasions in the fourth quarter the advantage stood at 19 points.
Brownwood owned a 20-point edge, 34-14, at halftime before tallying the first nine points of the second half.