The Early Longhorns’ last bid for a victory in the Underwood’s Christmas Classic came up short Tuesday night as the Goldthwaite Eagles downed head coach Alan Luker’s squad, 62-51.
The Longhorns were forced to play catch up from the start as they fell behind 14-7 after one quarter and trailed 35-17 at halftime.
Early did mount a third-quarter charge and trimmed the deficit to 10 points on three occasions, but could not whittle Goldthwaite’s lead down to single digits.
Trailing 42-23 with 4:42 remaining in the third, the Longhorns received three consecutive three-pointers from Warren Ethridge, Brandan Childs and Zac Fox to reduce Goldthwaite’s lead to 42-32 with 59 seconds left.
A bucket from Thomas Aly made the score 44-34 with 23 seconds to go, but Goldthwaite’s Garrett Pearson scored at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 12-point lead heading into the fourth period.
Nolan Ethridge scored to trim the Eagle lead to 46-36 at the 6:32 mark of the fourth period, but Goldthwaite answered with seven consecutive points to put the game out of reach, 53-36, with 4:31 remaining.
Ezra Gonzales, who led all scorers with 23 points, scored all seven Eagle points during the clinching run. Garrett Schwartz added 10 points, Pearson finished with eight and Josh Wilson and Collin Boscamp scored seven points apiece.
For Early, Childs led the charge with 17 points, followed by Aly with 15, Warren Ethridge with six, Fox with five, J.S. Dyer with three, Nolan Ethridge and Payton Hiltibidal with two points apiece and Tucker King with one point.
Snyder 49, Early 47
The Early Longhorns were unable to cling to a five-point lead heading into the fourth period as the Snyder Tigers rallied for a narrow 49-47 victory.
The Longhorns had trailed 20-15 after one quarter and 29-24 at halftime, but Early outscored Snyder, 15-5, in the third period to grab a 39-34 edge.
Thomas Aly poured in 25 points to lead the Longhorns, trailed by nine from Warren Ethridge, five from Brandan Childs, four from Dustin Worthen and two points apiece from Payton Hiltibidal and J.S. Dyer.
Snyder’s Anthony Taylor led all scorers with 26 points.
The Longhorns (5-11) will return to action on Jan. 5 when they visit San Saba in the District 8-2A opener for Early.