The Brownwood Lions were handed their first defeat of the 2018-19 basketball season Tuesday night, as the Jim Ned Indians held on for a 55-50 victory at Warren Gym.
The Lions (2-1), who trailed by as many as 11 points, scratched and clawed their way back to take a 40-39 advantage with 1:49 left in the third period. Jim Ned (2-0), however, regained the lead by the end of the quarter and kept Brownwood at arm’s length down the stretch to remain unbeaten.
“In the fourth quarter we got tired and that’s on me,” said Lions third-year head coach Nadir Dalleh. “I should have subbed a little bit better than I did. We have some work to do, but we’ll get better.
“We’re not very patient on offense or defense, and that’s a problem. It’s like when we get tired we forget everything we were taught and what we’re supposed to be doing. Jim Ned is a well-coached team, Coach (Eric) Phelps does a good job and they came ready. They’ve had less practice than we have, but they did a good job executing what he wanted to do and we didn’t execute much at all.”
John Wilhelm poured in 16 points to lead the Lions trailed by 15 from Zach Strong, six from Isyah Campos, five from Darrell Williams, three each from A.J. McCarty and Cooper Swanzy and two points from Beau Bronniman.
Jim Ned was sparked by 15 points from Dylan Bryant, 12 from Cade Ford, eight from Ethan Senne and six from Rhett May.
Facing a 28-17 deficit with 5:44 left in the opening half, the Lions were able to close the gap to 33-32 by halftime. Brownwood tallied eight of the final nine points in the second quarter on a three-point play by Wilhelm, buckets from Campos and Williams, and a Williams free throw.
“We got down early in the game and fought back to make it a one-point game at the half, and I’m proud of that,” Dalleh said. We saw a lot of good things, but we’ve had about two full practices. A lot of these guys came up from the JV so they’re new.”
A three-pointer by Wilhelm early in the third period allowed Brownwood to knot the score at 35. Down 39-35, the Lions reeled off six straight points, with a bucket from McCarty and later a free throw by Williams giving Brownwood a 41-39 edge. But a pair of Jim Ned free throws, followed by a jumper at the buzzer pushed the Indians back in front, 43-41, heading to the fourth period.
The Lions trimmed the deficit to 45-44 on a three-point play by Strong, and later 47-46 and 49-48 on additional Strong field goals. But a Dylan Martin jumper, followed by a pair of free throws from Senne, allowed Jim Ned to open a two-possession edge, 53-48, with 2:06 to go.
Two free throws from Campos brought the Lions with 53-50 with 1:10 remaining. Despite Jim Ned missing six of eight free throws down the stretch, Brownwood was unable to light up the scoreboard again.
Brownwood will attempt to return to the win column at the Weatherford tournament, where the Lions will face Weatherford, Fort Worth Christian, Granbury NCTA and Odessa Permian in pool play.
“I signed us up for the Weatherford tournament and there’s a bunch of 5A and 6A schools, really good teams,” Dalleh said. “I want to see our kids compete. We played in the playoffs last year against a very good team and these teams are comparable. If we want to get in the playoffs and do things we have to play teams like this and see what the competition is. I want to see us get after it, get all over the floor on defense. Good defense turns into great offense and we have to get some of that going.”