The Brownwood Lions basketball squad played at near full strength Monday night, which is the good news for second-year head coach Nadir Dalleh. The bad news — the Lions were able to practice just once as a complete unit before the home opener against Lampasas, and it showed as the Badgers remained undefeated with a 62-45 victory at Warren Gym.
The Lions (1-1) — coming off last week's 64-34 road victory over short-handed Class 2A De Leon — committed 25 turnovers and sent Lampasas (3-0) to the free throw line 29 times.
“We haven't been together very long, we've had one practice together, so we haven't gelled as a team,” Dalleh said. “Some of the guys that came back from last year are going to have to play different roles than they did a year ago, and we're going to have to figure those out. We're about to play a lot of games with very few practices, so a lot of people are going to have to start stepping up and playing.”
The Lions committed 10 turnovers in the first period alone, while Badgers picked up 11 points at the charity stripe as Brownwood trailed 18-11 after one period.
“We're going to have to be able to handle other teams' pressure,” Dalleh said. “When everybody starts hearing that we had almost 30 turnovers, that's what we're going to see every night. It starts at practice, we have to put each other in these situations. We have a ways to go, but I'm confident that we'll get there.”
Brownwood surged early in the second period, evening the score at 19 with 3:37 left before halftime. The Lions' 8-1 run to start the quarter was sparked by Zach Strong, who contributed all the points en route to leading Brownwood with a team-high 14.
“Zach played well,” Dalleh said. “He's a sophomore that stepped up and had to play a lot of minutes. He's still got some maturing to do a little bit, but he plays hard. That's what I'm looking for, guys that will play hard.”
Knotted at 19, Lampasas' Kolbe Penick broke the tie with a three-pointer that triggered a 9-2 run by the Badgers to close out the first half.
Leading 28-21 at the break, Lampasas continued to stretch its lead over Brownwood, opening a 43-27 cushion by the end of the third period. The Lions trailed by as many as 20 points, 57-37, in the fourth period.
Along with Strong's 14 points, the Lions received nine from A.J. McCarty followed by Xavier Porter with eight, Jaten Reeves and Gavon Clemons with four apiece and Tristin Revada and Tommy Bowden with two points apiece.
Lampasas received 16 points from Kyle Sims, 13 from Xavier Nix, and 10 from Tyler Quarles.
The Lions (1-1) are back in action at 1 p.m. Saturday when they visit Early.