Bears clinch second place in district
Last updated 2/11/2023 at 11:41am
The second seed in District 19-4A was secured by the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears with their fifth straight win. The Bears beat the West Orange Stark Mustangs 59-50 on Friday, February 10, at the Mustangs' Gym.
It was Senior Night for the Mustangs. Prior to the game Darren Anderson and Demarcus Warren were honored with their parents. Darren and Demarcus each received a specially decorated basketball signifying their contributions to West Orange Stark.
Little Cypress Mauriceville came out strong scoring the first six points of the game on two baskets by Noah Fuller and one by Alantheon Winn. Ja'Vaugnte Richard got the Mustangs on the board before Anderson showed his senior leadership with three field goals the last from three point range to put West Orange Stark on top 11-10 with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Two free throws by Winn brought the lead back to the Bears. Anderson put a rebound back in the hoop to give the Mustangs a 13-12 lead as the quarter ended.
The seesaw match continued as the second stanza began with four lead changes in the opening couple of minutes. The Mustangs' Anderson hit his second three and followed it with a basket and two free throws as West Orange Stark opened up a six-point advantage 22-16 about three minutes into the second quarter.
The Bears replied with a three from Jonah Fuller and a basket by Brooks Pattillo to get the Bears within one. WOS' Jamikael Davis made a fancy move for a layup then followed up a rebound for another two points and the Mustang's lead was back to five points 26-21.
Pattillo hit his second field goal of the quarter before Ben Elliott scored his first points of the game with forty seconds left in the half to close the gap to one again. The Mustangs' Anderson and Da'Marion Morris of the Bears exchanged late baskets to make the score 28-27 at the half in favor of West Orange Stark.
Third quarters have been decisive for Little Cypress Mauriceville in the recent five game winning streak, and that was the case again on Friday. The Bears outscored the Mustangs 14-8 in the third led by Elliott who tallied six points and freshman Braylon Lewis who hit a three pointer to enjoy a 41-36 lead with one quarter to play.
Jamikael Davis narrowed the Bears' lead to three to start the final eight minutes but Morris answered for LCM with a three and Elliott added two free throws to get the lead up to eight points 46-38. Elliott hit another field goal and two more free throws with about four minutes left to establish Little Cypress Mauriceville's largest lead of the game 52-40.
Jamikael hit a three for West Orange Stark to cut the deficit to six points but Noah Fuller hit a three of his own and a put back for a basket to give the Bears a 57-46 lead with 96 seconds remaining. Richard and Jamar O'Neal made consecutive baskets but it was not enough as Little Cypress Mauriceville won 59-50.
The top scorer in the game was Anderson of the Mustangs with 20 points and made four of five free throws. Jamikael Davis was in double figures with 11 points.
The Bears had three players in double figures led by Winn with 15 points. Elliott finished with 14 and Noah Fuller totaled 13 points.
LCM Coach Brad Jeffcoat credited Mustangs' Coach Chris Castille for the closeness of Friday's game compared to the Bears' thirty point win over West Orange Stark in their first meeting. "He had his team playing really hard, I thought they had a really good game plan, I thought they executed it, and tonight was a battle," Jeffcoat expressed.
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears solidified their position for second place in the district on Tuesday, February 7. The Bears had a late surge to beat the Jasper Bulldogs 78-58 at the Dr. Pauline Colburn Hargrove Gymnasium.
The game was played on Senior Night as seven Bears were recognized before the game. Da'Marion Morris, Noah Fuller, Brooks Pattillo, Ty Blackmon, Hunter Lackey, Cayden Dunwoody, and Ben Elliott were each honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Bears' coach Jeffcoat then gave all of the seniors playing time starting five of them and working the other two on the court as the game progressed. The gesture definitely met with the approval of the Bears' fans at The Grove.
The Bears led much of the first quarter using the altered lineup. Lackey scored four points including a three pointer and Pattillo scored a beautiful basket for another two points.
Normal starters and seniors Morris and Elliott chipped in with a combined six points as the Bears led 12-10 with ninety seconds left in the first quarter. Jasper scored the last four points the final three coming on a shot by Kam Ferrell with eight seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 14-12 lead at the end of one.
After an opening bucket by the Bulldogs to start the second quarter the Bears went on a thirteen point run. Elliott tied the game 16-16 a hundred seconds into the second period, and Alantheon Winn made a free throw to put the Bears ahead 17-16 a lead they would never relinquish. Little Cypress Mauriceville held a four-point lead at the half 28-24 when Ferrell made a steal followed by a slam dunk at the buzzer that had the visiting fans on their feet.
In the third quarter another senior Noah Fuller made his presence felt. Fuller scored eight points in the third one more than Morris as the Bears opened their lead to nine points 46-37 with a quarter to play.
The Bulldogs refused to fold and scratched back to be down 54-50 with less than four minutes remaining. Senior Blackmon ripped a three and Morris answered a basket by Ferrell for Jasper with one of his own to make the score 57-52 in favor of the Bears.
Then it became the Ben Elliott show for about two minutes. Ben scored ten straight points off of rebounds and layups to boost the Bear bulge to seventeen points. Winn put an exclamation point on the LCM rally with a dunk and Blackmon canned another three to make the score 74-52 before the two teams exchanged baskets to bring the final score to 78-58 for the Bears.
Four Bears scored in double figures led by Elliott with 20, Morris finishing with 15, and Winn matched Fuller at 14 points. Zikeice Simmons led the Bulldogs with 20 points followed by Ferrell with 16 points.
Coach Jeffcoat was pleased that his seniors all got some good court time in the win. "We prepare them just like the starters. I was pleased to get them in there, they were excited to have an opportunity to start the game, and they came out and held their own as well as took the lead for us. I'm really happy for those guys. They work as hard or harder than anybody else and they don't get that reward quite as much. I have a really good feeling for them and I'm proud of those guys," Jeffcoat replied.
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears closed the regular season at home on Tuesday, February 14, against the first place Silsbee Tigers. Jeffcoat commented before the game, "It's going to be a lot of fun. We've had that one circled all year, it's our support the troops night so there's going to be a bunch of people wearing red, white, and blue. We're excited about it, I think the Tigers are the best 4A team in the state of Texas. There's no pressure, there's nothing on the line, we're going to get to measure up to see where we stand, and go out to play a tough opponent."
The West Orange Stark Mustangs played their final game this season against the Bridge City Cardinals on Valentine's Day. Bridge City had tough times last week losing both its games. The Cardinals were in good shape to finish in at least fourth place and make the playoffs before they lost on Tuesday to Lumberton and on Friday at Jasper.
On Tuesday the Cardinals led after one quarter but Lumberton rallied winning the second and third quarters by large margins to ensure the Raiders' victory. Lincoln Breaux was the high scorer for Bridge City with 12 points.
The loss to Jasper was a tough one for the Cardinals who had beaten the Bulldogs by eight points when the two teams played in Bridge City back in January. The Cardinals needed a win against West Orange Stark on Tuesday, February 14, and for Vidor to upset Jasper as well to create a tie for fourth place.