EARLY — The Early Longhorns turned out to be their own worst enemy Tuesday night in a 53-35 home loss to the Clyde Bulldogs — the second straight setback for head coach Justin Moore’s squad.
The Longhorns (1-2), coming off a 74-35 loss at Brownwood Saturday, committed 32 turnovers including 19 in the first half, and struggled with their shooting throughout much of the contest.
“We can’t turn over the ball over like we did tonight,” Moore said. “We had 19 turnovers in the first half and that’s hard to come back from.
“Then we don’t box out and they get easy rebounds, plus we couldn’t make a layup, so it was an uphill battle all night and that was our problem.”
Early led 7-6 with 4:13 left in the first period — the final advantage of the night for the Longhorns — as a 9:17 scoreless drought allowed Clyde (1-0) to open a 16-7 advantage.
The Longhorns were down 12-7 after one quarter, 28-12 at halftime and 41-22 after three periods.
Early received seven points apiece from Drew Sessler and Rowdy Elkins, six from Griffin Ehlers, five from Christian Mills, four from Ty Schafer and two points apiece from Devyn Burns, Ryan Trompler and Josh Graves.
“We had some kids step up and get some quality minutes, we just have to figure out when we sub guys in and out we have to be cohesive regardless,” Moore said. “We have 10 guys on the team and all 10 have to play. We can’t take nights off and I thought some of our upperclassmen took a night off tonight.”
Clyde was led by 13 points from Tanner Riley, 12 from Mitchum Burleson, and six each from Dylan Cox and Ryan Earp.
Trailing by 23 points with 5:44 remaining, the Longhorns made a late run at Clyde by reeling off 11 consecutive points.
A pair of free throws from Ehlers began the rally while Sessler followed with a bucket. Ehlers then drained two more free throws, then Elkins knocked down a three-pointer and added a bucket in the paint to trim Clyde’s lead to 45-33.
The Bulldogs answered with buckets from Riley and Cox to push the lead to 49-33 with 2:10 left, essentially icing the Clyde victory.
Early will be back in action at 8 p.m. Tuesday when it welcomes Hico.