The 2009 Underwood’s Christmas Classic will likely be remembered for snow, and early exits.
Aledo and Stephenville chose not to return for Tuesday’s second day of action, while Wichita Falls disappeared prior to its scheduled game against Brownwood at 7:30 p.m.
The Lions did not find out they would not have an opponent to play until after pre-game warm ups had commenced. A voice mail was left in the athletic office by the Wichita Falls coaching staff at approximately 5 p.m. stating their plan to return home.
Therefore, the Lions were limited to a single game Tuesday, and came extremely close to collecting their first win at Warren Gym this season.
The third time almost proved to be the charm for the Lions, who narrowly fell to the San Angelo Lake View Chiefs, 56-53.
Lake View earned double-digit victories over the Lions in the first two meetings, but had to hang on down the stretch after building a 14-point lead through three quarters.
Graylon Brown led the Lions with 17 points, followed by 13 from Derek Longoria, 11 from Greg Jefferson, seven from Marquos Barnes and five points from Michael Ballejo.
Roy Garcia tallied a game-high 22 points for Lake View, trailed by 16 points from Rigo Muro.
Trailing 40-26 at the the start of the fourth period, Brown drained a three-pointer as the Lions trimmed the deficit to 40-29 with 6:18 left in the contest. A bucket from Longoria with 5:11 to go allowed Brownwood to creep within single digits, 42-33, for the first time since the 5:34 juncture of the third period.
At the 4:53 mark, Jefferson scored on a drive and was fouled, and after converting the three-point play the Lions trailed by just six points, 42-36.
A three-pointer from Jefferson, followed by a steal and a layup from Ballejo, moved the Lions to within a bucket at 43-41 with 3:30 left.
Lake View was able to push its lead back to six points, 49-43, at the 2:14 mark on a bucket by Garcia, but Brown followed with a trey that closed the gap to 49-46 with 2:23 remaining.
The Chiefs again extended their lead to seven points, but the Lions made one final charge with Ballejo banking in a trey with 32 seconds left to shave the deficit to 54-51.
The Lions missed a chance to tie with 14 seconds left as Brown’s three-point attempt bounced off the rim, and Jefferson was unable to convert the putback. Lake View grabbed the rebound and sank two free throws to push the lead to five points with just nine seconds left.
Longoria scored with one second remaining and Brownwood called a time out with seven tenths of a second on the clock, but Lake View successfully inbounded the ball to end the game.
Brownwood led 12-11 after one quarter, but mustered just seven points in the second period as Lake View grabbed a 24-19 halftime advantage.
After Jefferson scored the first bucket of the second half, Lake View answered with eight straight points to build a double-digit advantage —32-21 — which the Chiefs maintained for a 7:56 stretch.
The Lions (3-10) will attempt to snap a six-game losing streak and earn their first victory at Warren Gym in five tries when they host Burnet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.