ends of the spectrum
By Derrick Stuckly — Brownwood Bulletin
The Brownwood Lions’ six-game win streak came to a halt in Friday’s Underwood’s Christmas Classic opener, but they appeared poised to start another in the nightcap.
After suffering a 59-50 overtime loss at the hands of the Arlington Sam Houston Texans at Warren Gym, the Lions rebounded with a 65-40 thrashing of the Granbury Pirates at the Brownwood Coliseum.
Brownwood head coach Shane Perkins stated his goal for the Lions was to exit the tournament a better team than it was entering. Despite a 1-1 record thus far, Perkins feels Brownwood is headed in the right direction.
“Overall I’m pleased and thought it was a great first two games,” Perkins said.
As for what Perkins wants to see out of the Lions in today’s final two games against Leander at noon at Warren Gym and Wichita Falls at 8 p.m. at the Coliseum, he stated, “We always harp on the little things like blocking out, guarding your man, taking care of the ball. We always stress those things, and if we do those the big picture will take care of itself.”
The Lions scored the first eight points in their win over Granbury and were never threatened.
Rashad Deal led the way with 16 points, followed by 10 from Parker Taylor, eight each from Jordan Longoria and Mike Thompson, seven from Kevin Cunningham, six from Ike Huestis, five from Russell Foy, four from Kenny Vaccaro and one point from Graylon Brown.
Spencer Row and Kanyon Payne led Granbury with nine points each. Ross Whittet chipped in eight points.
Leading 21-9 after one quarter, the Lions opened the second period with 11 straight points and held Granbury scoreless the first 4:15 of the stanza.
“We did a good job playing defense,” Perkins said. “The first 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter they didn’t score and that’s where we blew the game open. We’ve done that quite a bit this year where we keep getting stops and score on the other end. That turns a six-point game into a 16-point game and then their frustration keeps building.”
The Lions had to deal with their own frustration in Friday’s opener, however.
Brownwood was plagued by cold shooting down the stretch as the Lions did not convert a field goal attempt over the final 6:23, including all of overtime. The Lions’ three points in the extra session against Sam Houston all came at the free throw line after missing their first five from the charity stripe.
“We hurt ourselves in overtime missing our first five free throws,” Perkins said. “We missed 10 for the game and five were in overtime. Those could have been momentum builders and we could have got the lead right off the bat. We missed those shots and you could tell from everybody’s reaction it was like a kick to the stomach.”
Jorge Redmon tallied 25 of Sam Houston’s points, including 16 in the second half and overtime. Charles Palmer added eight points.
Brownwood was led by Taylor’s 18 points and 11 from Deal, including nine points after intermission.
With the game tied at 47-all after four quarters, Sam Houston used a string of six straight points to break open a 49-48 contest.
Redmon scored two of the buckets while Taaron Hassell sank a short jumper to push Sam Houston’s lead to 55-48 with 1:49 left in overtime.
The Lions trailed 26-15 with 3:44 left in the first half following a Redmon three-pointer, but Brownwood scored nine of the final 11 points in the half to close the gap to 28-24 by halftime.
Brownwood pulled even at 34-all with 3:38 left in the third quarter, then grabbed a 35-34 edge on Taylor’s free throw at the 2:54 mark.
The Lions owned a 42-39 lead with 6:58 left in regulation after a Taylor deuce, but consecutive three-pointers by Jordan Dunbar and Redmon pushed Sam Houston back in front, 45-42, with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter.
Taylor’s three-point play at the 4:51 mark evened the score at 45-45. Cunningham then made the score 47-all with his driving layup at the 2:23 juncture of the fourth period.
Neither team scored the rest of regulation.
“Arlington Sam Houston is a good team and we hadn’t played anybody all year with the kind of athletes they have,” Perkins said. “You’re always worried whether your kids will adjust to the speed of the game, and I thought we did a great job on that.”