On January 5, we played our second district game when we hosted the Early Longhorns. Going into this one, I thought we had a good chance of beating them. The first quarter ended with Early taking the lead 8-7. In the second quarter Early had a good quarter scoring 14. We had a hard time putting it in the basket in the second quarter, mainly due to their aggressive play. But their aggressive play put us at the line 10 times in the second quarter and we made seven of them and Tucker Cromer hit another shot. We went in at the half trailing 16-22. The third quarter was fairly even as well with Early scoring 12 and the Dillos scoring 11. We trailed 27-34 at the end of the third. We played pretty well in the fourth quarter holding Early to three field goals and closed the gap but in the end we had to foul and they hit some of their free throw and the score ended up 46-37. Scoring for the Dillos was: Tucker Cromer – 23, Braden McBee – 8, Hayden Oliver – 4, and Ryan Pannell – 2. After watching the game on film, we missed 6 or seven easy layups and two footers, and we were 14 of 21 from the free throw line. You have to make the easy ones and shoot a better percentage from the line. Those would have made a huge difference in the outcome of the game.
On January 8, that was our district open date. We picked up a game with Mason at home. We had played Mason over the Christmas Break in the Llano Tournament and they beat us 30-39. At the end of the first quarter Mason led 14-9. At the half, Mason led 26-17. We started the game playing them in a zone defense. One thing you give up when you play zone is the three pointer when the offense reverses the ball real well. Mason hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter and three 3-pointers in the first half of the second quarter. Up to this point, they had only made three 2-pointers and two free throws. We switched to man defense on them with about four minutes to go in the second quarter and played man the rest of the game. It made a difference. Our kids really stepped up. In the second half, our offense played about as well as it has played all year. We outscored Mason 14-8 in the third quarter and cut Mason’s lead down to 31-34. The fourth quarter was probably the most exciting quarter that we have had since I have been here. We started it out down 34-31. Tucker Cromer scored on our first two possessions taking the lead 35-34. It went back and forth for the next 3 minutes. With 6:04 left in the game, Hayden Oliver hit a huge three for us that put us up 40-38. With a couple of good assists by Chase Key and good post play by Pete Torres and Tucker Cromer, we increased our lead to 46-40 with about 4 minutes to go. We maintained our lead for the next three minutes but Mason cut into it a little and with 26 seconds to go in the game, Mason hit a three pointer tied it up 47-47. On the next possession, Tucker Cromer was fouled and hit both of his free throws putting us up 49-47. But on the next possession we put them at the line and they hit both of theirs and tied it up 49-49. At this point there was 6 seconds on the clock and we were out of timeouts. Chase Key took the inbounds and drove the length of the floor and made his layup at the buzzer!!!! How exciting is that!!!!!? We won the game 51-49. I was extremely proud of our kids. We had some kids step up. They all played great defense but we had a few of them step up offensively and that’s what made the difference. The leading scorer for the Dillos was Tucker Cromer with 25. Tucker has been averaging about 13 points a game for us this year. But since district started, he has been averaging about 21 points per game. Braden McBee, Chase Key, Pete Torres, and Hayden Oliver had 6 points each, and Ryan Pannell had 2.
When this comes out, we will have played Comanche on Tuesday and we will host Coleman on Friday.