EARLY — A string of 16 consecutive points to end the first half and start the second ignited the Red team to a 68-59 victory over the Blue in Don Hardin Small School Shootout boys basketball action here Friday night.

The Blue team crept back within three points on two occasions in the final two minutes, but the Red team ended the game on a 6-0 run for the final nine-point margin.

Nazarene’s Bryce Byrd of the Red team was named the game’s Offensive MVP as he tallied a team-high 17 points. Santa Anna’s Colten Enriquez, a member of the Blue team, was named Defensive MVP as he tallied 12 points.

Also scoring for the Red were Mullin’s Matthew Weaver and Lometa’s Ivan Jasso with 15 points apiece, Romeo Prep’s Zakary Nunn and Grady’s Braeden Jones with seven points each, Lometa’s Kyle Molter with five points and Baird’s Isaiah Cruz with two points.

Aspermont’s Trey Meador led the Blue team with 15 points while other contributors included Blanket’s Jordan Chasteen with 10 points, Nazarene’s Frankie Serra with nine, Victory Life’s Jack Haley with six, Nazarene’s Luke Geeo with four, Water Valley’s Tony Reed with two and Lometa’s Reid Moore with one point.

Teams were determined by a draft earlier in the week.

Trailing 30-27 with 1:18 remaining in the first half, Red recorded the final five points of the half to seize a 32-30 halftime advantage. Jasso drained a three-pointer to knot the score with 40 seconds to go in the second period while Cruz scored the go-ahead points in the paint with 16 seconds left.

The second half began with Red holding Blue off the scoreboard for the first 5:31 of the third period, as Red tallied the first 11 points to open a 43-30 advantage.

The Red’s third-period run started with two buckets from Byrd while a deuce from Jones forced a timeout with the Blue trailing 38-30.

After the break, Molter and Nunn tacked on buckets and Nunn later added a free throw.

Still trailing by a dozen points, 54-42, with 6:53 left, the Blue team made a late charge. Buckets from Serra and Chasteen and a trey from Meador closed the gap to 54-49 at the 4:44 mark.

Then, with 2:01 left, consecutive buckets by Enriquez and Chasteen brought the Blue team within 60-57. Enriquez scored again at the 1:20 mark to make the score 62-59, but the Red team held its opposition off the scoreboard the rest of the way.