The Brownwood Lions stretched their win streak to nine games with a pair of victories to open the TexasBank Holiday Classic Thursday at the Brownwood Coliseum. The Lions first knocked off Lampasas for the second time this season, 67-45, then followed with an evening triumph over Levelland, 72-53.
As for the Lions' overall performance, head coach Nadir Dalleh said, “A win's a win. (Howard Payne Yellow Jackets) Coach (Troy) Drummond out there said it best, 'if you can get a win after a holiday you're in good shape.' You could tell the holidays kind of took a toll on us. We were breathing pretty heavy, got a little sickness in us, but maybe we got all of that out of us. Once we got it going a little bit you could see what we could do, but we have to knock down the easy stuff and we had trouble with that at times.”
In the nightcap against Levelland, a three-pointer by Zaiden Lecroy knotted the score at 10 with 2:39 left in the first period. The Lions responded with 10 consecutive points to end the first period and start the second to double up Levelland, 20-10. Zach Strong contributed five points during the spurt, Josh Baucom drained a three-pointer and A.J. McCarty sank two free throws.
Levelland's Kolby Head ended Brownwood's run with a trey of his own, but the Lions then pieced together a 10-2 surge to open a 30-15 advantage with 4:04 left in the first half, and Levelland never mounted another threat. McCarty led the way with four points, John Wilhelm buried a trey, Beau Bronniman added a bucket and Isyah Campos sank a free throw.
Brownwood's lead stood at 38-26 at halftime and grew to 60-37 by the end of the third quarter. Another trey from Wilhelm pushed the lead beyond 30 points, 55-34, with 2:49 left in the third.
Levelland scored the first six points of the fourth period to trim the deficit to 60-43, but the Lions answered with eight in a row and then coasted to the finish line.
The Lions were also aided by 17 of 20 shooting at the free throw line, while Levelland was just 2 of 4.
Wilhelm paced the Lions with 24 points trailed by Strong with 21, McCarty with 15, Bronniman with four, Campos and Baucom with three each and Brandon Hamrick with two points.
For Levelland, Head and Dylan Bordayo finished with 11 points each and Kaleb Reyna added 10.
Earlier in the day, the Lions notched their second victory over Lampasas this season as Brownwood also won in its first outing of the year, 60-56, on Nov. 23.
In the rematch, the Lions led 17-11 after one quarter and 30-19 at halftime, and the advantage ballooned to 35-19 with 5:26 left in the third period. Lampasas was able to cut the deficit in half, closing the gap to 45-37 with 6:59 left in the contest.
Brownwood then responded with its most dominant stretch of play of the day, using a 22-4 run to establish a 67-41 lead with 2:08 left in the contest.
“These kids like to get out and run and once they got their legs under them they realized we could run past these guys if we just do it,” Dalleh said. “Lampasas is well-coached, they play good defense and they had us slowed down there for a while, but we got some good easy steals and easy layups and got hot from the outside a little bit and it snowballed from there.”
Wilhelm led the way for the Lions with 26 points, including 12 in the fourth period — most off steals that resulted in layups. McCarty tacked on 13 points, Campos added 11, Strong chipped in 10, Bronniman contributed five and Josh Baucom added two points.
Jett Bramon led Lampasas with 13 points followed by Mike Murray with nine, and Quinn Pace, Brenton Webb, Landon Mulcahy and Ethan Rascoe with four apiece.
Clinging to a 19-17 lead with 4:46 left in the first half, the Lions pieced together nine straight points — with seven coming from McCarty — to open a double-digit cushion, 28-17, with 1:09 left before halftime. Brownwood's lead peaked at 16 points and never dwindled below eight the remainder of the contest.
“I'm pleased with the win,” Dalleh said. “When you come off five straight days where you can't have contact with the kids you never know their mentality. But I've known this group for a long time, and I know they like competing, playing hard and winning especially. Those guys will do what it takes to win, so it's a good, positive thing to come out on top.”
The Lions (13-2) are back in action at 6:20 p.m. Friday as they clash with Alvarado at the Brownwood Coliseum. Saturday's schedule for the Lions will depend on Friday's results.