The Longhorns and Lady Longhorns eached earned their first wins of the season against the Tigers of Hartley, Texas.
The Longhorns made 9-of-11 free throws to extend their lead back to double digits in the final two minutes of Monday’s 75-61 win over the Tigers, while the girls rode an aggressive offense for a 70-51 victory.
Rylan Calbert scored 24, including 10-of-12 at the line, to lead the Longhorns.
Free throws were one of the deciding factors in the final period for the Longhorn boys. The Tigers made 6-of-7 free throws, which, when combined with two 3-pointers by Kody Carsler, whittled a 20-point lead down to eight.
“We put them on the line and that came back to haunt us,” said. Longhorns head coach Arnold Paralez. “They kept their composure and played well. They made their shots when they needed them the most.”
Tigers coach Sonny Calhoun said he kept reminding the team not to give up no each other.
“I told them they had to fight through it all,” Calhoun said. “No matter how far down we were, they knew they couldn’t and wouldn’t quit.”
Calhoun said a large part of their comeback was executing defensive fundamentals.
“We knew we had to take away their lanes and keep them from driving the ball,” Calhoun said.
Peralez said the late pressure and comeback from the Tigers is exactly what the team needs to see starting off the season.
“This will show them that you can’t ever slack off, even when you hold a 20 point lead,” Peralez said.
Karsler scored 22 points to lead the Tigers.
The girls got off to a solid start, but coach Clair Rachor hopes it’s just the beginning.
“We are not going to be pushed around,” Rachor said. “We are determined not to lose a home game and be a strong road team.”
Whitney Cordova had 21 to lead all scorers, while Nicole Collins and Brooke Rachor each scored 13 for the Lady Longhorns.
The Lady Longhorns’ pressure on defense cut entry lanes for Hartley’s 6-foot-5 inch post, Rebekah Vanijk.
“We took the size factor out of the equation,” Rachor said.
The foul factor was also an equation, as Vanijk went to the bench midway through the second with three fouls. Lady Tigers coach Dedra Hill said the team couldn’t be as aggressive as normal as a result.
“We got in foul trouble early, and that hurt us,” Hill said. “They (Lady Longhorns) were aggressive attacking the goal and that drew fouls on our girls underneath.”
The Lady Longhorns found themselves in foul trouble, but had build enough of a lead that they didn’t have to pay with a defeat.
“We were a bit too aggressive on defense,” said Katlyn Usrey.
Usrey said the team has been practicing fast and aggressively, which carried over in to the game.
Rachor said he was pleased with how the entire team performed.
“I can not say enough about how well the girls played,” Rachor said. “From my seniors to my younger players, they all did great.”
Jarrah Ivy led the Lady Tigers with 12 points.