The Brownwood Lions bounced back from just their third loss of the season with a 85-66 victory over the Wimberley Texans Saturday afternoon to close out play in the Edwin Randle Division of the TexasBank Holiday Classic.
A 71-58 loss to Alvarado Friday night proved costly for the Lions' hopes of repeating as tournament champions as it forced a three-way tie atop Pool A with Brownwood, Alvarado and Levelland. The tiebreaker turned out to be points allowed, as Levelland gave up 142 in its three games followed by Alvarado with 145 and Brownwood with 169.
“When you finish 3-1 and are in fifth place it's kind of disheartening, but that's how the tiebreaker works,” said Lions head coach Nadir Dalleh. “We had four quality games, three really good wins, and the loss didn't hurt us too bad, we'll learn from it. Levelland is a great team and to beat them by 20 points, that's not going to happen to them very often. Alvarado is another great team as well and good competition to get us ready for district.”
In the weekend finale against Wimberley, the Lions snapped an 8-all tie in the first quarter by reeling off 18 consecutive points. At the end of the opening period the Lions owned a 29-14 advantage which ballooned to 58-37 by halftime.
“That was unbelievable,” Dalleh said of the first-half offensive output. “I honestly thought it was the third quarter once when I looked at the scoreboard and it wasn't even halftime yet. We shot the ball well and rebounded well. We shot 57 percent and our three-pointers were about 50 percent, too. When those two things happen you can put a big score up.”
Leading by 21 at the halftime, Brownwood tallied the first eight points of the third period as the lead peaked at 29 points, 66-37, at the 2:34 mark of the quarter. Wimberley then fired back with 15 consecutive points to trim the deficit to 66-52 with 7:37 left. The Lions regrouped and recorded eight of the next 10 points to reestablish a 20-point advantage, 74-54, with 4:45 to go.
Zach Strong led the Lions with 25 points trailed by A.J. McCarty with 22, John Wilhelm with 19, Beau Bronniman with 15, Brandon Hamrick with three and Drew Huff added a free throw.
“We had four guys in double figures which is huge for us,” Dalleh said. “It was a good bounce back win.”
Against Alvarado Friday, the Lions led 25-24 at halftime despite nine lead changes in the first 16 minutes. In the second half, the Lions yielded the first five points of the third quarter but closed the gap to 35-34 on a bucket by Bronniman at the 4:06 mark.
Alvarado responded with 11 consecutive points, aided by Brownwood turnovers, to quickly boost the advantage to 46-34 at the 2:26 mark of the third.
The Lions fought back with eight straight points — two three-pointers by Wilhelm and a deuce from Bronniman — to reduce the deficit to 46-42 with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. Brownwood got no closer than four points the rest of the way, however, as Alvarado was able to increase its lead back to double figures, 59-49, with 5:24 left.
McCarty tallied a team-high 15 points for the Lions trailed by 12 each from Bronniman and Strong, nine from Wilhelm, six from Isyah Campos — who left with a knee injury and missed Saturday's games — and two each from Hamrick and Cooper Swanzy.
Will Johnson led Alvarado with a game-high 19 points while Waylon Carrillo chipped in 16 and Jake McCullough and Kalon Johnson finished in double figures as well with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Lions (16-3) are back in action at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday as they host Graham.