MINERAL WELLS — Through two District 7-4A contests, the Brownwood Lions appear to be the class of the league. Following Tuesday's 83-52 home victory over Stephenville, the Lions went on the road Friday night and cruised to a 78-40 win at Mineral Wells — their ninth consecutive triumph.
“Any time you can get a win on the road in district play it's big,” said Lions head coach Nadir Dalleh, who is attempting to lead the Brownwood boys to their first district title since the 1990-91 season. “We had that tough schedule early in the year playing a bunch of 5A and 6A schools and that was for a reason because right now it's paying off. These kids are getting after it, they're playing hard and if we keep doing what we do and take care of us we'll be fine.”
Trailing 16-15 late in the first period, the Lions (16-9, 2-0) reeled off an 18-2 run against Mineral Wells (3-23, 0-3), which flipped the entire complexion of the contest.
“In the second quarter we switched defenses a little bit and tried to pressure them a little more and speed the pace up and make them have some turnovers, and that helped us out,” Dalleh said.
Theo Bryant, who scored 10 points off the bench, put the Lions in front for good, 17-16, then Beau Bronniman drained a three-pointer before the first quarter ended, as Brownwood stretched the lead to 20-16.
The Lions received 29 points off the the bench as along with Bryant's 10 points, Bronniman added eight, Darrell Williams finished with five, Cooper Swanzy chipped in four and George Nicholas and Zach Barron finished with two points apiece.
“Those guys can get in there and score, we've known that all year long,” Dalleh said. “The last couple of games they haven't gotten as much time as they probably should have but that's because the first group was playing so well. We've got a good mix of kids and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Brownwood's Zach Strong led all scorers with 23 points, with 19 coming in the first half, followed by A.J. McCarty with 13, Isyah Campos with six, Ryan Riker with four and John Wilhelm with two points.
“This group, I've had them since eighth grade and I saw it then how well they play together,” Dalleh said. “They don't care who gets the credit, it's a fun group to have and a good mix of kids with different abilities. We have kids that can score from the inside or outside, and we can attack. We still have some things to work on and get better at, but it's exciting to watch these kids come together.”
Leading by four points at the start of the second period, Strong, Wilhelm and McCarty contributed buckets to increase the lead to double digits, 26-16. Following a Mineral Wells deuce, Strong scored again in the paint, McCarty knocked down a three-pointer and Campos scored on a drive to extend the cushion to 33-18.
At halftime the Lions' lead stood at 43-27 and Brownwood carried a 58-36 edge into the fourth quarter. Campos and Riker tallied the first two buckets of the final period, and the starters took a seat with the lead at 26 points, 62-36.
Defensively, the Lions allowed just 13 second-half points, with seven coming at the free throw line.
Brownwood targets a 10th straight victory and 3-0 league start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Glen Rose.
“Glen Rose can shoot the basketball,” Dalleh said. “They had Mineral Wells down by 18 points at one time and Mineral Wells came back and should have beat them. It's one of those deals where if they get hot, just like we can get hot, who knows what'll happen. They have an unbelievable facility, and it's a different atmosphere and different back drop to shoot at. Hopefully we can come out of there with another win.”