EARLY — The Bangs Dragons needed a little extra effort, but result couldn’t have been more satisfying.
Despite squandering a 13-point lead, Bangs displayed its resiliency and collected its first District 7-3A victory with a 63-60 overtime road triumph over the rival Early Longhorns.
The win keeps Bangs (8-16, 1-6) in the thick of the playoff hunt, just one half-game behind Comanche (3-15, 1-5) for the fourth and final playoff berth from 7-3A.
Early (11-12, 2-4), meanwhile, is firmly in trenched in third place following the defeat.
The Longhorns, who trailed 27-14 at one point, led 60-58 in overtime with 2:20 left following a foul — then a technical — against the Dragons. But Early made just 2 of 4 free throws, which came back to haunt the Longhorns.
Bangs evened the score at 60 with 1:19 left on a pull up jumper by Darius Gant.
Early turned the ball over on its ensuing possession, one of 20 giveaways on the night.
Bangs responded with a bucket in the paint from Curtis Patrick with 16 seconds left, as the Dragons regained the advantage.
On the other end, an off balance shot by Abel Hernandez clanged off the rim, and Bangs’ Colton Brewer yanked down the rebound and was fouled with four seconds left.
Brewer sank the first free throw and missed the second, but the halfcourt heave by Early’s Riley Mitchell fell just short of the rim.
Bangs led 14-11 after one quarter and 31-22 at halftime, but Early moved in front 43-42 after three periods. The game was knotted at 56 at the end of regulation.
Gant led Bangs with 21 points followed by Josh San Juan with 15, Brewer with 12, Patrick with seven and Logan James and Cason Taylor with four each.
Early received 19 points from Mitchell, 12 from Griffin Ehlers, seven each from Hernandez and Brayden Fry, six from Rowdy Elkins, five from Drew Sessler and four from Tyler Kirkland.