Brownwood reels off runs of 16, 18 straight points in Dalleh's head coaching debut

The Brownwood Lions began the 2016-17 basketball campaign without a complete roster, but first-year head coach Nadir Dalleh couldn’t have asked for much more from his squad in Saturday’s season opener.

With reinforcements from football players expected soon, the Lions still managed to dominate the Early Longhorns from start to finish, chalking up a 74-35 victory at Warren Gym.

Four Brownwood players finished in double figures as the Lions (1-0) pieced together runs of 16 and 18 unanswered points, while limiting the Longhorns (1-1) to four points in both the first and third quarters.

“We made a lot of smart decisions that created some fast breaks and easy baskets,” Dalleh said. “These guys are the ones I’ve had since day one and once we get everybody out and on the same page, it’s going to be exciting.”

Xavier Porter and Sean Yoder paced Brownwood’s offensive effort with 12 points apiece trailed by Arias Duffie and Tristin Revada with 11 points each, Omar Garcia with nine, Nic Perez with seven, Bryson Wells and Wyatt Burleson with five points apiece and Blake Bronniman with two points.

“How we run our offense gives almost everybody an opportunity to score,” Dalleh said. “They either have a shot or somebody is open for one, especially if we see a double team like we did a lot today. Finding opportunities to score has been lacking here the last couple of years and we’re trying to figure that out and hopefully keep this going.”

For Early, Devyn Burns tallied 11 points followed by six from Ty Schafer, five from Rowdy Elkins, four from Drew Sessler, three from Ryan Trompler and two points each from Jake Angerstein, Griffin Ehlers and Josh Graves.

But the Longhorns were plagued by 27 turnovers, with 15 coming in the first half.

“We’ve been talking about playing defense since the first day of school,” Dalleh said. “If you don’t play defense, you don’t play. That’s just the way it’s going to be, and the kids have bought into that and they’re showing effort and competitiveness. They understand a steal and an outlet leads to easy opportunities to score.”

Early was coming off a 49-44 come-from-behind victory over Llano in Tuesday’s season opener, but never found its footing Saturday.

“We came out a little flat and this is bigger competition, the crosstown rival, so jitters came into play,” said Early head coach Justin Moore. “We’re still young and we’re getting there, but we took a step back today. We have to learn to play against talent that has size and is also athletic. We have to rise to the occasion when it’s presented to us.”

The Lions — coming off a 12-13 season a year ago and seeking their first playoff berth since 2012 — led 14-4 after one quarter, 36-16 at halftime and 60-20 through three periods. A string of 16 consecutive points in the first half established a 26-4 advantage for the Lions, and the Longhorns never recovered.

Leading 10-4 with 2:26 left in the first period, the Lions’ spurt began simply enough with a free throw by Wells, while Garcia buried a three-pointer with 4 seconds left to extend Brownwood’s lead to double digits as the quarter concluded.

The Lions followed with the first 12 points of the second period, holding the Longhorns scoreless for a span of 6:37 as the lead ballooned to 22 points. Brownwood tallied 10 points in the first 1:44 of the second quarter to quickly double its lead to 24-4 as Yoder contributed the first six points of the frame while Revada chipped in four before the run was completed.

Brownwood strung together 18 consecutive points during the third period, turning a 40-18 lead into a 58-18 advantage with 40 seconds left in the quarter. A three-pointer by Perez extended the Lions’ edge to 30 points, 48-18, at 2:57, then Wells capped the run with a bucket.

The Lions’ lead twice peaked at 45 points in the fourth period — 68-23 on Bronniman’s bucket with 5:11 to go, and 74-29 on a deuce by Garcia with 2:27 remaining.

The Lions hit the road for the first time Monday as they visit Lampasas at 6:30 p.m. The Longhorns will attempt to rebound at home against Clyde at 8 p.m. Tuesday.