A lot has happened since the last report two weeks ago. We played a lot of basketball over the break (I’ll get to that in a minute), and we lost an important member of our team to injury. I had already told you that J Miles went out in the first quarter against Hico on Dec. 18, but at that time we didn’t know the extent of his injury. I won’t get into all the details, but J had surgery on his knee to repair some damage that occurred in the game against Hico. We won’t have him any longer, but I wish him the best and hope that he has a full recovery. Without J, that left us with only three guards on our varsity so I moved up Clayton Perry from the JV to help us out the rest of the year. He has done a good job for us so far and has stepped in and contributed. He will gain some valuable experience the rest of this year that will help him in the coming two years.
Now for the basketball. Over the break we played in the Llano Christmas Tournament on December 29 & 30. Teams competing in the tournament were San Saba, Mason, Blanco, Johnson City, and Llano. It was a round robin format and we got four games out of it. It was good for us to play over the break. It helped get us back in shape and get ready for our district schedule.
Our first game of the tournament was against Mason. You could tell that we had not practiced in a week due to the break. At the end of the first quarter we trailed 6-12. At the half we were down 12-23. At the end of the third we were still trailing by 10, 30-20. In the fourth, we made a little run at them and cut their lead to five with a couple of minutes remaining, but in the end we had to start fouling and they hit four free throws and we couldn’t convert on the other end and Mason ended up winning 30-39. Leading scorer for the game was Chase Key with 14 points and he was 6 of 6 from the line. Other scorers were Braden McBee with 6, Tucker Cromer with 4, and Clayton Perry, Chance Gotcher, and Pete Torres with 2.
In our second game that day, we played Blanco. We played better in this game. This was one that we let slip away. We led for most of the game, but in the fourth quarter, Blanco came back and tied it up and sent it to over time. In over time we didn’t make one shot from the field but went to the line 4 times and made 3 of them. Blanco hit two 2’s and two free throws in overtime and ended up winning 54-51. Tucker Cromer led the scoring for the Armadillos with 24. He had six 2’s and was 12 of 21 from the line. Others scoring were Pete Torres with 6, Braden McBee and Hayden Oliver with 5, Chance Gotcher with 4, Clayton Perry with 3, and Ryan Pannell and Chase Key with 2.
The first game the following day we played Johnson City. We had played them earlier this year and beat them by six at home. This was one that we let get away also. We swapped leads with them many times throughout the game. At the end of the third quarter we were up 30-27. But in the first minute of the fourth quarter, we committed two turnovers that ended up as layups for Johnson City, and all the sudden we were down 31-30. We traded leads a few more times and when it got down to the last minute we found ourselves trailing by two. We had our chances but we just couldn’t convert. We had a couple of possessions where we stopped them and couldn’t score. We were still down by two and had to foul with just a few seconds remaining and they hit both of them and we went down by four and that’s how it ended up. 39-43. Leading scorer for the Dillos was Pete Torres with 8, Clayton Perry, Braden McBee, and Chance Gotcher with 6, Tucker Cromer with 5, Chase Key and Ryan Pannell with 4.
In our final game of the night, we faced Llano. We had lost to them 41-27 earlier this year in our tournament. We jumped out on them in the first quarter and led 13-6 after one. They outscored us 17-6 in the second and we went in at the half down 23-19. They increased their lead by two and at the end of the third we were down 37-31. They outscored us 16-10 in the fourth and won the game 53-41. Leading scorer for the Armadillos was Tucker Cromer with 14, Braden McBee with 10, Ryan Pannell with 5, Chance Gotcher and Hayden Oliver with 4, and Chase Key and Pete Torres with 2.
This was a good tournament for us. I thought our kids competed their tails off. We had a chance to win each game that we played in this tournament. I was extremely proud of our kids.
On January 2, 2010, we started District play. We traveled to Brady to take on the Bulldogs. Brady jumped out on us and took the lead 14-5 at the end of the first quarter. We clawed our way back in it and cut the lead to six at the half. We had a chance to cut it to four, but we missed the front end of a one-and-one right at the half. In the third quarter, Brady outscored us 8-3 and went up by 11. In the fourth we just couldn’t produce enough offensively and Brady won the game 43-27. Again, I was proud of the effort our kids gave. They play hard. Our defense has been pretty dang good all year long. Opponents are averaging about 42 points a game on us. The two things we have to improve on is our offensive production. We get good shots, but we just can’t get enough of them to fall. The other thing that we have to get better at is turnovers. We have got to make every possession count. Leading scorers for the Brady game are Tucker Cromer with 15, Chase Key with 5, Hayden Oliver with 3, and Pete Torres and Braden McBee with 2.
We play Early at home on January 5th and our district open date is January 8th but we will host Mason that night at home.