Early bounces back from opening loss to Zephyr with wins over San Saba, Comanche

MAY — The Early Longhorns won the consolation championship at the May Holiday Tournament, posting a 2-1 record Monday through Wednesday.

“This tournament was a good stepping stone for us and showed that these young men are determined to continue fighting and won’t let defeat keep them down,” said Early head coach Justin Moore. “With this momentum, we will carry it into this three-game road trip before kicking off district on Jan. 15 against Coleman at home.”

In Wednesday’s consolation final, Early defeated Comanche by a 65-53 count.

The Longhorns led 23-10 after one quarter, 36-25 at halftime and 45-39 through three periods.

Brayden Fry paced Early with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds followed by Riley Mitchell with 11 points, Sahib Kang with 10, Drew Sessler and Abel Hernandez with eight points each, Griffin Ehlers and Tyler Kirkland with four apiece, Ryan Trompler with three and Rowdy Elkins with two points.

“We were firing on all cylinders and taking advantage of the mistakes by Comanche,” Moore said. “We were able to keep a high intensity all game and keep pressure on Comanche.”

Tuesday, the Longhorns notched a 49-21 victory over San Saba.

Early raced out to a 17-2 lead after one quarter and was in front 27-4 at halftime. The Longhorns stretched their lead to 38-14 through three periods.

Fry posted another double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds followed by Mitchell with seven points and 10 boards, Hernandez with six points, Ehlers with five, Sessler with four, Elkins, Trompler and Logan Gressent with three each and Kirkland and Allan Piri with two points apiece.

“We were full of fire and enthusiasm,” Moore said. “Everything was going in our favor and we executed very well in all phases. We had everyone on the team score and everyone contributed positive minutes. From the opening tip to the final whistle, these young men played their hearts out.”

The only loss for Early came in Monday’s opener, a 42-39 setback at the hands of Zephyr.

The Longhorns trailed 16-4 after one quarter, 27-17 at halftime and 34-25 after three frames.

Hernandez led the charge with 13 points followed by a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds from Fry, six points from Ehlers, four from Mitchell, three from Kirkland and two points from Sessler.

Early (5-7) will face Zephyr again at 2 p.m. Saturday in a non-district road contest.