GLEN ROSE — After winning by more than 30 points in each of their first two District 7-4A outings, the Brownwood Lions needed to overcome a five-point overtime deficit to knock off the Glen Rose Tigers, 64-61, Tuesday night to remain unbeaten in league play behind their 10th consecutive victory overall.
Trailing 59-54 more than halfway through the four-minute extra session, the Lions (17-9, 3-0) closed the gap to a bucket on a three-pointer by A.J. McCarty. Then, after Glen Rose (14-15, 2-1) connected on just one of two free throws, John Wilhelm drained the game-tying three-pointer with just under a minute to go.
“John had a little motivation before this game after hearing some things, and that drives him,” said Lions head coach Nadir Dalleh said. “You don’t make a shooter mad, and he eventually got hot. You couldn’t help but cheer the kid on. He struggled early on but I told him you just have to think about the next shot, not the last shot, and he came up big.”
On the ensuing Glen Rose possession, McCarty came up with a steal and converted at the other end, pushing Brownwood in front, 62-60, with 35 seconds left.
The Tigers’ next possession resulted in one of two free throws, trimming the Brownwood lead to 62-61.
On the opposite end, the Lions — who sank just 5 of 18 free throws in the game — missed both attempts in the double bonus.
“It’s a tough gym to shoot in with a different backdrop,” Dalleh said of the struggles from the free throw line.
However, after Glen Rose pulled down the rebound, Isyah Campos came through with a clutch steal that he dished to George Nicholas, who scored in the paint to push the Brownwood lead to 64-61.
“That young man, what he lacks in size, his heart is as big as anybody’s,” Dalleh said of Campos. “He’ll go up against anybody at any time and he came up big in that overtime. He probably played 98 percent of the minutes. He handles the ball so well, plays defense so well, you have to have him on the floor. He came up big with that steal and the layup by George sealed it.”
With five seconds left, Glen Rose inbounded the ball needing to travel the length of the court. But the Tigers — who sank 11 three-pointers in the game — came up short on their final attempt, as Brownwood — seeking its first district championship since the 1990-91 season — escaped with the win.
“These kids want to compete and win and you can’t help but be proud of them,” Dalleh said. “Glen Rose’s record is right around .500 and I don’t know how. Those kids can play, they can shoot the ball and play great defense. We came into their house and they know you have to win at home in district. It was tough, but to come out with another win on the road is big for us.”
The Lions trailed for most of the game — 15-11 after one quarter, 22-20 at halftime and 38-35 through three periods. Still down 43-41 in the fourth, Wilhelm — who finished with a game-high 21 points for Brownwood — sank consecutive three-pointers to push the Lions in front, 47-45.
After the Lions missed a pair of free throws on their next possession, McCarty — who chipped in a dozen points — yanked down an offensive rebound and scored on the putback to give Brownwood a 49-45 edge.
“A.J. had four fouls and we’re shooting free throws and I tried to get him out so he didn’t get his fifth,” Dalleh said. “He told me no, that he had it, and he did. He got up and got some big offensive rebounds for us.”
Glen Rose finally sank its first free throw of the game on the next possession, closing the gap to 49-46, but Zach Strong — who contributed 11 points before fouling out early in overtime — scored in the paint to give the Lions their largest lead of the night, 51-46.
The Tigers answered with a flourish as a three-pointer, followed by a midcourt steal and a layup, quickly evened the score at 51.
Glen Rose capped a 7-0 spurt by scoring following an offensive rebound to regain a 53-51 edge with less than a minute to go. With 18 seconds left in regulation, however, Campos — who tallied 11 points — scored on a drive to knot the score at 53, which sent the game into overtime.
Also scoring for Brownwood were Ryan Riker with four points, Beau Bronniman and Nichols with two each and Theo Bryant with one point.
The Lions, seeking their 11th win in a row, wrap up the first half of district at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Godley (11-13, 1-2).
“Godley has a couple of kids that are pretty long, pretty good rebounders,” Dalleh said. “They’re traditionally good. I’ve seen them one time in person and seen them some on film. They get after you and play hard. Everybody in this district is competitive and hopefully our kids will show up and compete. But after this win on the road tonight, I think we’re in pretty good shape.”