Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Tournaments get boys ready for resumption of district

Tournaments leading up to the New Year gave the local boys basketball teams some games to fine tune their skills for the meat of the district action which starts in January. Little Cypress Mauriceville and Bridge City took part in the tourney which was held at LCM. Orangefield participated at a tournament in Houston County and West Orange-Stark played at the Lee Tournament.

The LCM Bears and the Bridge City Cardinals were two of the sixteen teams in the LCM/International Paper Tournament which included some junior varsity and freshmen squads as well as three teams of players from Bendigo, Victoria in southeastern Australia. Each team played four games with two on Thursday and two on Friday at either the Dr. Pauline Colburn Hargrove Gymnasium nicknamed the Grove or in the previous high school gym known as the Bear Cave.

The Bears played their opening game on Thursday morning against the Cleveland Indians. LCM won 55-45 at the Grove.

Alantheon Winn lead the way for the Bears with 17 points including a three point play after he made a slam dunk on his final basket in the third quarter. Eight Bears got on the score sheet with Jayden Benton putting in 12 points and Dane Hawk coming off the bench to score 10 points thanks to two shots that went in beyond the arc.

LCM Coach Brad Jeffcoat commented after the game on the lethargic start by the Bears. "I thought we looked like a team that just came out of a vacation break. We were kind of sluggish early, luckily for us I think Cleveland suffered from that as well. I think we left a bunch of points off the scoreboard on missed free throws and layups, but we're really happy to get a win it's been a while since we got one," Jeffcoat added.

Bridge City faced the Australia 1 team in its first game on Thursday afternoon. The select group of Australians known as the Bendigo Braves beat the Cardinals 70-62 in the Cave.

Lincoln Breaux got the scoring started for the Cardinals before the Braves went on a nine point run. Breaux added a second field goal and two free throws before a three pointer for Australia gave them an 18-9 lead.

The second quarter started with Australia up 18-12 but Aiden Gutierrez made a basket, Breaux nailed a three pointer, and Aaden Bush matched it with a three of his own to give the Cardinals the lead 20-18 for the first time since the opening bucket. Australia rallied before Bridge City's Stephen Stone hit a pair of threes late in the quarter to make the score 35-30 in favor of the Braves at the half.

The contest remained close with Stone hitting three more threes in the second half for the Cardinals. Australia prevailed though 70-62 in the end.

Stone with 21 points was the high scorer of three Cardinals in double figures. Gutierrez finished with 12 points and Breaux made 11 points.

The afternoon opponent for Little Cypress Mauriceville was Splendora also at the Grove. The Bears had a much easier time with the Wildcats 66-36 and never trailed in the game.

An impressive first quarter saw LCM jump to a 17-4 advantage. Alantheon Winn had 5 points followed by Jonah Fuller and Jayden Benton both with 3 points in the early going.

Splendora played its best quarter in the second period outscoring the Bears 14-12 to trail by eleven after two quarters. Little Cypress Mauriceville dominated the play in the second half 37-18 to pull away from the Wildcats.

Winn had his most points of the tournament in this game with 24 which included another dunk. Benton was a force on the boards and scored 14 points for the Bears. Bryson Price just missed scoring in double figures with 9 points.

Coach Jeffcoat was pleased with the Bears performance against the Wildcats. Jeffcoat responded, "I thought we did a much better job defensively. I thought we did a good job and disrupted what the Wildcats like to do on offense and we were able to get out and run to get some easy ones. In the second half the Bears were much better at sharing the basketball to try to create opportunities for each other and when that happens the ball moves it's a lot more fun and the results are much better."

Bridge City played a very good team in the Center Roughriders on Thursday evening. The Roughriders got it rolling and won 71-44 over the Cardinals.

The first quarter was a contrast to the rest of the game. The Cardinals came out getting hot shooting from Rayburn Hebert and Aiden Gutierrez who both hit threes in the opening eight minutes to give Bridge City an 18-10 lead.

The advantage held for the Cardinals until 2:36 was left in the second quarter when a three pointer by Center gave it the lead 26-24 for the first time. The Roughriders successfully built on it the rest of the way.

Hebert finished as the high scorer for Bridge City with 15 points. The Roughrider guarding Hebert actually told him to put up a long shot before the buzzer adding there would be no effort to block it, and Rayburn nailed it.

On Friday it was LCM's turn to play the boys from down under. The Bears beat the Bendigo Braves 37-24 at the Grove.

Scoring was scarce in the first quarter. Alantheon Winn hit a three and later a second field goal while Tyler Newell made a rebound and put the ball back in the hole for all the Bears points in the opening period which was still enough to give LCM a 7-2 lead.

Winn hit a second three pointer and made his third slam dunk of the tournament in the second quarter. Braylon Lewis made a marvelous drive for a basket to close the first half scoring to put the Bears up 19-11 as the teams went to the locker room.

Australia outscored the Bears 8-7 in the third quarter, but Little Cypress Mauriceville enjoyed its best stretch in the final eight minutes with an 11-5 point margin to extend the final margin to thirteen points. Jayden Benton scored five of his seven points in the fourth after injuring his ankle earlier in the game.

The only Bear to score in double figures was Winn with 15 points. "Lance is very talented, he works hard. He created for others, he made jump shots, he made shots at the rim, he made some free throws, and he made a pretty nasty dunk," Coach Jeffcoat recapped.

Bridge City won its Friday afternoon game in the Cave with Cleveland. The Cardinals came away with a solid 57-45 triumph over the Indians.

Aiden Gutierrez led the Cardinals with 12 points. Bryce Linder had his best game of the tournament scoring 10 points from the post position. Lincoln Breaux and Jagger Carlin both contributed 9 points to help Bridge City get the win.

The Cardinals had a very tough draw in the tournament playing top teams in three of their four games. Bridge City's final game was against the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks on Friday night at the Grove. The Hawks won 67-48 using a big fourth quarter to break the game open.

The leading scorer for the Cardinals was Aaden Bush with 16 points. Aiden Gutierrez finished with 10 points giving him double figure scoring in three of the four games played by Bridge City.

Coach Randall Robertson of the Cardinals evaluated his team's performance in the tournament. "We had a really bad first day coming off the Christmas break and we were as flat as can be. Today was a lot better. We got the win we were supposed to get against Cleveland as the kids played with more energy. Overall, we feel a lot better about it after that win," Robertson indicated.

Little Cypress Mauriceville finished the tournament on Friday night against the Woodville Eagles. The Bears lost for the only time during their tournament 54-46 in the Grove.

The Bears scored the first four points, but Woodville took the lead 8-6 about four minutes into the game and never trailed again. The Eagles scored fifteen or more points in each quarter except the third which LCM won 10-7.

As he did in every game of the tournament Alantheon Winn was the Bears' leading scorer with 17 points. Bryson Price matched his own highest point total of the two days with 9 points, and KD Reed who started the game for the injured Jayden Benton had 7 points.

The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears and the Bridge City Cardinals did not play each other during the tournament in the last week of last year. The Bears travelled to Bridge City on Tuesday to play the Cardinals in a big district game. It was the first district game of the season for LCM and the second for the Cardinals who lost their district opener the week before Christmas to the Silsbee Tigers.

In other tournament action involving local Orange County boys teams the Orangefield Bobcats participated in the Houston County Tournament played in Crockett and Grapeland. The Bobcats won two of their three games during the two days of play.

Orangefield needed overtime to capture the first game 55-49 over Venus. Zane Wrinkle led the Bobcats with a double double scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Jaden Scales was the high scorer for Orangefield with 20 points and Griffin Thomas contributed 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Later on Thursday the Bobcats faced a good DaVinci team. Orangefield won the game 51-43 to go 18-1 on the season.

Jaden Scales led the Bobcats in scoring with 18 points adding 3 assists. Zane Wrinkle put up 17 points to go with his 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Griffin Thomas scored 7 points and Kayden Rucker pulled down 5 rebounds while blocking 6 shots in the victory.

The Bobcats suffered only their second loss of the season on Friday losing 49-35 to Westwood. Jaden Scales was high scorer with 15 points and Zane Wrinkle made 11 points with 6 rebounds.

Games continued on Saturday for Orangefield as the Bobcats beat Onalaska 76-53. Zane Wrinkle had a rare triple double scoring 22 points, nabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists. Jaden Scales scored 18 points, to go with 3 assists and 2 steals. Griffin Thomas tacked on 15 points, and Kane Smith had 8 points with 3 assists in the win.

The final game for Orangefield before the New Year was a loss to Chapel Hill from Tyler 66-42. Zane Wrinkle was the high scorer for the Bobcats with 10 points and Griffin Thomas had 9 points. Kadyn Rucker played well with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

The Orangefield Bobcats are 19-3 on their season. District action resumed on Tuesday for Orangefield (1-0) at home against the Hardin Hornets. The Bobcats play again on Friday, January 5, also at home against the Warren Warriors.


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