San Saba boys take huge step toward third straight basketball district title
SAN SABA – Post Dylan Ware and the San Saba boys’ basketball team turned a couple of negative statistics from an earlier loss to Goldthwaite into positives Friday night, and the Armadillos beat the Eagles 45-34 in a crucial District 29-2A game.
San Saba improved to 18-8 and 10-1 in district. The Armadillos can claim their third consecutive district championship by winning Tuesday at Johnson City. The Armadillos beat Johnson City 63-31 last month in San Saba.
Ware led all scorers with 17 points Friday as the San Saba guards continually fed the 6-foot-7 post the ball in the paint against a Goldthwaite team whose tallest player is 6-2. When the Eagles beat the Armadillos 52-48 last month at Goldthwaite, Ware spent much of the game in foul trouble and scored nine points.
“He didn’t play much last year as a sophomore because we had a senior-heavy team,” San Saba coach Mark Kyle said of Ware. “He’s just now getting comfortable. He’s growing into his body.
“Tonight he (Ware) stayed on the floor and didn’t swat at the ball. That kept him out of foul trouble. He’s tall enough to alter shots without having to be in your face on defense.”
The other trend the Armadillos turned into a positive was points off turnovers. Goldthwaite scored 23 points off turnovers in last month’s win over San Saba, but on Friday, those roles reversed. In the first half alone, San Saba forced 17 Goldthwaite turnovers that the Armadillos converted into 15 points.
During an 11-0 second-quarter run when San Saba turned an 11-7 lead into a 22-7 advantage, all 11 of the Armadillos’ points came after turnovers by the Eagles. During San Saba’s run, guard Reagan Mejia drove and made a 6-foot jump shot, guard Drake Bryant nailed a 10-foot jumper and freshman guard Levi Glover made a reverse layup.
Ware finished the decisive run with an inside basket, and San Saba eventually led 24-11 at the half. During San Saba’s 11-0 run, Goldthwaite lost seven turnovers and went 0-of-2 from the field on seven straight possessions.
Goldthwaite (17-12, 9-2) is now in line for the No. 2 playoff seed from District 29-2A. The Eagles got 14 points from freshman guard Luke Sanderson and 13 points from senior guard Jackson Patrick, but Goldthwaite got just seven points combined from the rest of its roster.
The Eagles got as close as 28-24 in the third quarter after six straight points by Sanderson and Patrick. But Ware’s inside basket, combined with Bryant’s 3-point shot with five seconds left in the third quarter, returned the momentum to the Armadillos with a 33-24 lead. San Saba kept Goldthwaite at bay despite missing 10 of 16 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
“Bryant’s 3-pointer was huge,” Kyle said. “That gave us a score, a defensive stop and a score to end the third quarter. That was while Reagan Mejia was out of the game for about a quarter with four fouls.”
Bryant added 10 points and Mejia scored nine for San Saba.
Friday’s win completed a successful make-or-break week for San Saba, which on Tuesday beat third-place Mason 59-38.
“We still have to beat Johnson City Tuesday to win district, but tonight was a big hurdle and this was a big week for us. We’ve had three of our last four games at home, and we needed to take advantage of that,” said Kyle, who coached San Saba to the Class 2A UIL state tournament two years ago.