The Early Longhorns began the Underwood’s Christmas Classic with a rocky 70-43 loss at the hands of the Class 3A Palestine Westwood Panthers Monday afternoon.

Early (5-9) was unable to keep pace with Westwood’s athleticism, as the Panthers had a clear advantage in quickness, which resulted in several Longhorn turnovers.

Brandan Childs and Dustin Worthen finished with 10 points apiece to lead Early, followed by nine points from Thomas Aly and seven points by Warren Ethridge. Payton Hiltibidal added three points, while two each came from J.S. Dyer and Tucker King.

A bucket by Childs allowed Early to pull even at 4-all just 2:09 into the contest, but Westwood answered with seven straight points to build an 11-4 advantage. At the end of the first period, the Longhorns were in a 22-10 hole.

Westwood seized complete control of the contest by scoring the first 10 points of the second quarter, which provided the finishing touches on a 14-0 run and pushed Early behind by a 32-10 count.

The Longhorns trailed 39-19 at halftime and by a 54-29 count heading into the fourth period.

Early will square off with Snyder at 10:30 a.m., then face Goldthwaite at 6 p.m. to close out Classic play.