BANGS — A game decided by four points in the final minute the first time around was a blowout by halftime as the Bangs Dragons capped a District 7-3A sweep of the Early Longhorns, 75-49, Tuesday night.
The third straight victory for the Dragons moved Bangs over the .500 mark in 7-3A action and secured a playoff berth. Meanwhile, the Longhorns remained winless in district competition and are on the brink of having their postseason hopes vanquished.
Dalton Johnson paced Bangs (13-9, 4-3) with 22 points trailed by Brayden James with 12, Keegan Hall, Josh San Juan and Cameron Castillo with eight each, Darius Gant with seven, Robert Richardson with four, Colt McBee with three, Curtis Patrick with two and Talon Taylor with one point.
Early (8-12, 0-6) received 13 points from Riley Mitchell, 10 from Colt Palmer, eight from Abel Hernandez, seven from Christopher Johnston, four from Austin Simpson, two each from Joel Justice, Nick Alcorta and Grady Benton and one point from Drew Sessler.
Bangs — which escaped with a 64-60 road win over the Longhorns on Jan. 23 — opened a double-digit lead, 14-4, just 4:42 into the contest, but Early closed the gap to 16-10 by the end of the first quarter.
The Dragons then began the second period on a 14-2 run, opening a 30-12 edge at the 3:58 mark, en route to a 39-18 halftime advantage.
Johnson scored 14 points in the first half, with eight coming during the run that started the second period. The Dragons dominated play in the paint throughout the contest.
Bangs gradually extended its lead throughout the third period, with the advantage reaching 30 points, 62-32, on a trey by Gant with 22 seconds left.
With 4:20 remaining in the contest, Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to give Bangs its largest lead, 72-39.
The Dragons are off Friday, then conclude the regular season at home against Comanche on Tuesday.
The Longhorns venture to Comanche Friday night and host Brady Tuesday, needing a pair of victories to avoid being eliminated from postseason contention.