Bears avenge earlier loss to Bridge City
Last updated 1/31/2023 at 12:35pm
With two weeks remaining in the District 19-4A basketball schedule there is a log jam of teams battling for three of the four playoff positions. The Silsbee Tigers are undefeated in first place which barring a total collapse the top spot should be secure for them, but the other three positions are up for grabs.
Two Orange County teams are in the tangled mix with the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears and the Bridge City Cardinals fighting the Lumberton Raiders and the Jasper Bulldogs for the remaining three playoff positions. The Bears played the Cardinals on Friday, January 27, in Bridge City.
The Cardinals won the first district first meeting between the two at LCM 63-62 back on January 3. The Bears desperately needed a win to even the slate with Bridge City.
Little Cypress Mauriceville took an early 3-0 lead with a basket by Alantheon Winn and a free throw by Noah Fuller. The Cardinals' Walker Britten tied the game with a three pointer and when the Bears regained the advantage on a bucket by Ben Elliott it was Britten again nailing a three to put the Cardinals up 6-5 for their first lead in the game.
The Bears answered with field goals by Da'Marion Morris and Winn to go ahead 9-6. Aaron Torres and Aiden Gutierrez scored the next two baskets to give the Cardinals a 10-9 lead. It would be Bridge City's final advantage in the contest.
Winn scored his third field goal of the quarter followed by buckets by Fuller and Elliott in the closing minutes of the quarter. LCM enjoyed a 15-10 advantage after one.
The momentum was rolling for the Bears as they scored the first seven points of the second quarter. Jagger Carlin stopped the draught for the Cardinals at the 3:05 mark of the second followed shortly after by Gutierrez sinking a shot but that was all the scoring for Bridge City in that period.
Fuller hit a three and Winn added a two as Little Cypress Mauriceville increased its advantage to 13 points 27-14. Winn had a driving layup nullified when a referee called a foul on him for pushing off with his right hand while laying the ball off the glass with his left as the half ended.
Bridge City started the second half with a positive burst as Britten sank a three pointer and Bryce Linder scored on a short jumper to narrow the gap to eight points about 2:50 into the third quarter. The Bears started another string of thirteen points in a row on a pair of free throws by Morris, a three point basket by Noah Fuller, and ended on a pair of buckets by Elliott that ran the lead to 40-19 with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter.
Trailing by eighteen points was a steep hill for the Cardinals to climb at the start of the final quarter. The slope got slipperier as the Bears doubled the difference to 44-22 on a steal leading to a layup by Morris and another basket from Winn.
The remaining minutes saw LCM sitting all of its starters and using the bench to finish the game. The game ended with Bridge City trimming the deficit but never really threatening the Bears comfortable lead with 57-42 being the final score.
Winn of Little Cypress Mauriceville was the high scorer in the game with 18 points. Three other Bears also scored in double figures as Elliott totaled 16, Noah Fuller finished with 11, and Morris tallied 10 points.
Eight of nine Cardinals scored points in the game. Britten led Bridge City by scoring 12 and Gutierrez was also in double figures with 10 points.
Coach Brad Jeffcoat of the Bears analyzed the victory for LCM. "We showed up ready to play tonight. For three and a half quarters we played really good defense. We subbed late and it got a little closer. The effort and execution on defense was fantastic. I am proud of the kids for responding to that," Jeffcoat praised.
Little Cypress Mauriceville had its second half bye prior to the win on Friday against Bridge City. The Bears moved a half game ahead of the Cardinals in the district standings with the win.
The remainder of the district schedule will be no cake walk for the Bears. Jeffcoat elaborated, "We're one game at a time. I'm not happy how we played on offense. I'm not happy with what we did taking care of the ball. We're still not playing how we need to be playing. We have five games left in district, we've got to get right."
The Bears played at home on Tuesday, January 31, against the Vidor Pirates. LCM has an important game concerning the district playoff positions on Friday, February 3, at Lumberton.
The loss on Friday was Bridge City's second straight. The Cardinals lost to the Silsbee Tigers 99-62 on Wednesday, January 25, a game that was postponed for one day because of the hazardous weather that passed through the area on Tuesday. Walker Britten scored 17 points followed by Aiden Gutierrez's 16 and Bryce Linder with 14 points.
The West Orange Stark Mustangs split their two games last week. The Mustangs won their first game in the district so far on Wednesday 67-63 over the Vidor Pirates. Darren Anderson lead the Mustangs with 21 points. On Friday West Orange Stark lost 73-72 to the Lumberton Raiders.
This week the Bridge City Cardinals had a bye on Tuesday. Their next game is Friday at Vidor. The Cardinals beat the Pirates in their first meeting 43-40 at Bridge City.
West Orange Stark traveled to Jasper on Tuesday this week. The Mustangs have their second half bye on Friday. Their next game is on the road Tuesday, February 7, against the Silsbee Tigers.