It may not have generated the most style points during Brownwood's current win streak, but it was a victory nonetheless as the Lions were triumphant for the 11th game in a row, 66-56 over the Godley Wildcats Friday night at Warren Gym.
The victory pushed Brownwood's record to 18-9 overall, but more importantly 4-0 in District 7-4A action at the halfway point of the league schedule. The Lions are in pursuit of the program's first district championship since the 1990-91 campaign.
“It's going to get tougher and tougher,” said Lions head coach Nadir Dalleh. “Teams are going to figure out how to cover us, but if we can get out in the floor we can run with anybody. Godley took that away from us early tonight and we kind of struggled.”
Though Brownwood mustered just nine first-quarter points, the Lions still led by six points at the end of the initial stanza. The lead stood at 31-19 at halftime and 51-34 through three periods.
Instead of further distancing themselves in the fourth period, the Lions instead labored as Godley (11-4, 1-3) on multiple occasions reduced the deficit to 10 points.
“That was about as ugly as it gets,” Dalleh said regarding the finish of the game. “When we're doing the same ticky-tack stuff in the fourth quarter that we've done since the first day of practice, it's kind of frustrating to me. There's just some little things we have to get better at if we're going to continue on in the second half of district.”
Godley first crept within 56-46 with 4:19 to go, but stiffer defense along with buckets from A.J. McCarty and Theo Bryant allowed the Lions to stretch the lead to 60-47 at the 1:24 mark, which essentially locked up the victory.
“The kids play hard, there's no doubt about the effort being there,” Dalleh said. “But we've got to improve on our defensive rebounding and quit giving up second-chance point. That hurt us tonight, especially in the fourth quarter.”
All five Brownwood starters finished in double figures with McCarty and John Wilhelm leading the charge with 13 points each followed by Isyah Campos with 11 and Ryan Riker and Zach Strong tallying 10 points apiece. Also scoring for Brownwood were Darrell Williams with four points, George Nicholas with three and Bryant with two.
“Our offense was well-balanced,” Dalleh said. ”When one person gets covered up we have weapons somewhere else that can step up and play.”
Strong fouled out for the second game in a row, this time during the first minute of the fourth quarter.
“We've got to understand, just move your feet a little bit, do the little things to play good defense. We're not doing it right now and it's going to cost us,” Dalleh said regarding the recent influx of fouls against the Lions.
Godley was led by 17 points from Brenon Hawkins and 13 from Walker Freeman.
In front by a 9-3 count after one quarter, the Lions took control of the contest with a 22-point second period. Wilhelm scored 10 points during the quarter, including knocking down a pair of three-pointers, while McCarty contributed five points and Riker added four.
Brownwood continued to pad its cushion throughout the third period with the advantage peaking at 20 points, 51-31, when Williams scored following an offensive rebound with 48 seconds left in the quarter.
The Lions are off until Friday when they target a 12th straight win at Stephenville. Brownwood knocked off the Yellow Jackets, 83-52, in the District 7-4A opener at Warren Gym on Jan. 15.
“We have to get some knees better, and we have to work on our defense,” Dalleh said. “We have four days to get ready to Stephenville and they 'll be ready for us. They want some redemption.”