Longhorns defeat De Leon, 50-40, on final day of event

The Early Longhorns posted a 1-3 record at the TexasBank Holiday Classic, picking up their lone victory against the De Leon Bearcats, 50-40, Saturday afternoon at Warren Gym.

After going 7:06 without a point, Early tallied its only bucket of the first quarter and trailed De Leon, 8-2, after the initial stanza.

The Longhorns began to warm up in the second period, however, and seized a 15-14 halftime advantage. A three-pointer by Timmy Smithson — who led the Longhorns with 18 points — gave Early its first advantage, 11-10, at the 3:53 mark.

Clinging to a one-point lead starting the second period, Early exchanged the lead with De Leon eight times in the initial 3:02 as both offenses came out on fire.

Another trey from Smithson pushed Early ahead, 25-23, but De Leon pulled even at 25 at the 4:38 mark. Just seconds later, Brent Grooms drained a three-pointer that put Early ahead for good, 28-25.

Early stretched its lead to 34-27 by the end of the third period. In the fourth quarter, the Longhorns gradually built on their lead, with the advantage eventually reaching double figures in the final minute.

Along with Smithson’s effort, Devyn Burns and Rowdy Elkins chipped in nine points apiece, Grooms added seven, Ty Schafer tallied four points and Taylor Hurt finished with three.

After opening the tournament with a 60-45 loss to Stephenville Thursday, the Longhorns were then downed by District 6-3A rival Brady, 56-22, on Friday.

In the loss to Brady, the Longhorns were limited to eight first-half points, and went without a field goal for a 17:57 stretch — more than two full quarters.

After cutting Brady’s lead to 6-5 on a bucket by Elkins at the 3:24 mark of the first period, the next shot from the floor that the Longhorns converted occurred with 1:27 left in the third quarter as Colton Piri pushed Early into double figures and cut the Bulldogs’ advantage to 39-11.

Down 41-13 after three quarters, the bulk of the Longhorns’ offense came during the fourth period.

Smithson led Early with nine points, including seven in the fourth period, followed by four from John Griffin, two points apiece from Elkins, Piri, Josh Baucom and Ty Schafer, along with one point from Hurt.

Early concluded its weekend of action with a narrow 49-47 loss to Comanche — another district foe — Saturday evening.

The Longhorns (6-13) are slated to return to action at 8 p.m. Tuesday when they host Priddy.