The Brownwood Lions, fresh off their Hamilton tournament championship over the weekend, stretched their win streak to four games with perhaps their best outing of the season.
The Lions needed less than a quarter to establish a double-digit advantage and controlled the action throughout the majority of the contest en route to a 83-51 victory over the San Angelo Lake View Chiefs Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
Brownwood (7-6) scored 14 of the first 18 points, all within the first 3:29 of action, and led 22-9 by the end of the first period. The Lions’ advantage stood at 40-22 at halftime and 55-40 heading into the fourth period following Lake View’s biggest surge of positive momentum. But the Lions re-established their dominance, scoring 32 of the final 43 points in the game.
“Our starting five right now is about as hot as you can get,” said Lions third-year head coach Nadia Dalleh. “I hope I’m not jinxing us or anything, but man those guys are getting out and running. What I love about this group, and I’ve seen them since eighth grade, the junior group mixed in with the senior group, is they love playing together and you’re seeing that right now.”
Four Lions finished in double figures – Zach Strong with 22 points, A.J. McCarty with 19, Isyah Campos with 15 and John Wilhelm with 14. Darrell Williams added five points, Ryan Riker chipped in four and Beau Bronniman and Zach Barron added two points each.
“It’s our 13th game and we’ve practiced just five or six times together, but all our guys are finally getting into basketball shape and learning where everybody is on the floor and where they’re supposed to be,” Dalleh said. “We’re connecting on a lot of offensive sets as well, and it’s fun to watch them play because they love executing and playing together.”
Wilhelm drained a three-pointer 54 seconds into the game and McCarty added a bucket in the paint at 6:42 for a 5-0 lead, as Brownwood never trailed. The lead reached double digits, 14-4, on Campos bucket.
Before the game reached halftime, the Lions had already pushed the advantage to 20 points, 38-18, on a three-pointer by McCarty at the 3:36 mark of the second quarter.
Leading 51-28 with 3:04 left in the third quarter, Dalleh cleared his bench and allowed the reserves some time on the court. A handful of turnovers allowed Lake View to catch fire offensively as the Chiefs closed the gap to 51-40 at the 1:04 mark thanks to a 12-0 run.
“We have to learn to understand that even if we have a big lead we can’t be lackadaisical with the passing,” Dalleh said. “We have to take care of the basketball and take care of both ends of the floor and we weren’t doing that. We had almost a 30-point lead and they got it back to less than 12. That’s something we can’t do and a lot of teams we have coming up will take advantage of that. It was a bad little spurt, but we’ll get that stuff fixed.”
Any momentum Lake View (4-13) might have had vanished at the buzzer when McCarty heaved a shot from beyond half court with a half a second left that hit nothing but net, and gave Brownwood a 55-40 edge going into the fourth period.
The rout continued over the final eight minutes with dunks by Strong and McCarty, as the lead peaked at 34 points, 83-49, with 1:53 to go on a jumper by Barron.
The Lions will shoot for their fifth consecutive victory at 6:30 p.m. Friday when Gatesville visits.