BANGS — The Early Longhorns reeled off the initial nine points and never trailed as they earned their first District 7-3A victory of the season, 61-49 over the rival Bangs Dragons Friday night.
Early (9-9, 1-1) did not allow a Bangs (7-13, 0-3) point over the first 4:15 of the contest, and the Dragons further hurt themselves by committing nine of their 17 turnovers during the opening quarter.
The Longhorns led 13-6 after one period, the Dragons closed the gap to 25-22 at halftime, then Early distanced itself in the third by padding the cushion to nine points, 42-33.
Brayden Fry finished with 14 points to spark the Early offense followed by 13 from Riley Mitchell, 11 from Abel Hernandez, seven each from Tyler Kirkland and Drew Sessler, four from Griffin Ehlers, three from Sahib Kang and two points from Allan Piri.
For Bangs, Darius Gant contributed 14 points, Josh San Juan added 13, Curtis Patrick chipped in nine, Colton Brewer finished with eight and Landon James tallied four points.
Early’s opening surge featured buckets from Kirkland, Fry and Mitchell. Mitchell then drained a trey, which led to a Bangs timeout.
At the 6:18 mark of the second period, Early’s lead stood at a dozen points, 18-6, after a put back by Fry.
But Bangs whittled the deficit down to four points, 20-16, at the 3:11 mark following a three-point play by Patrick.
Trailing by just three points at the break, another slow start doomed Bangs. Early tallied the first seven points of the third to open a 32-22 lead and the Dragons never recovered.
Bangs got no closer than seven points down the stretch, while Early’s lead peaked at 14 points, 53-39, with 4:14 remaining in the contest.
The Longhorns hit the road again Tuesday to battle Comanche, while the first district bye falls for the Dragons. Bangs will resume league play Friday with a visit from Comanche.