Mustangs rally to beat Bears but fall at Bridge City
Last updated 1/23/2024 at 9:37pm
The first half of boys district basketball wrapped up on Friday as scheduled after cold weather postponed Tuesday's games until Wednesday, January 17. Local teams were involved in two exciting games during the week that went down to the final buzzer before the winners were determined.
West Orange-Stark trailed by fifteen points at half time to Little Cypress-Mauriceville on Wednesday night. The Mustangs played an intense second half to pull off their thrilling 65-61 comeback win over the Bears at the West Orange-Stark High School gymnasium.
After making the initial basket of the game the Mustangs went cold from the field and saw the Bears score the next fifteen points to take a 15-3 lead. The LCM advantage was 40-15 at the half.
Jamar O'Neal of West Orange-Stark hit two quick baskets to start the third quarter. Andrew Cooper contributed nine points in the period as the Mustangs narrow the deficit to three points 47-44 with a quarter to play.
Cooper scored again to begin the final period to cut the difference to one point. Mustang Braylen Solomon hit a three pointer to the game 49-49 at 6:10 of the fourth quarter.
Little Cypress Mauriceville scored the next six points. Baskets by Alantheon Winn, Bryson Price, and Jayden Benton put the Bears up 55-49 about midway through the fourth quarter.
Three pointers by Cooper and Ja'Vaughnte Richard got West Orange-Stark back within two points before Joshua Holifield of the Mustangs tied the game 57-57 with 3:30 to go in regulation. Winn and Richard exchanged field goals to keep the score tied.
With 2:10 left Tahj Amerson registered his only points of the game to give the Mustangs their first lead, 61-59, since the opening minutes of the game. Richard and Solomon sandwich field goals around a bucket by the Bears' Winn to round out the frantic fourth frame to secure the triumph for WOS.
Both teams had three players finish in double figures. Andrew Cooper led the Mustangs with 18 points followed by Braylen Solomon with 13 and Ja'Vaughnte Richard who had 12 points. Alantheon Winn of the Bears was the high scorer in the game with 21 points, Jayden Benton had 16 points, and Jonah Fuller finished with 11 for LCM.
Coach Chris Castille of the Mustangs expressed his emotions after the game. "Oh, man those crosstown rivalries are always going to be something special. I love the way my kids fought, they never gave up," Castille emphasized.
The Bridge City Cardinals that same Wednesday night played at Jasper. Aiden Gutierrez scored 24 points and Aaden Bush added 15 as the Cardinals won in a rout 77-43 to move to 4-1 in district tied with West Orange-Stark.
That set the stage for another showdown on Friday night in Bridge City between the Cardinals and the Mustangs for second place at the halfway point in district action. Bridge City beat West Orange-Stark 64-62 improving its record to 5-1 in District 19-4A.
Just like on Wednesday the Mustangs fell behind early in the first quarter. Lincoln Breaux of the Cardinals hit a three pointer to start the scoring and Jagger Carlin popped another three moments later as Bridge City took an 8-2 lead.
The margin increased to nine points 14-5 after Aaden Bush made his second field goal of the quarter for the Cardinals. That sparked a resurgence from the Mustangs who tallied the next eleven points culminated with a basket by Jamar O'Neal to give West Orange-Stark its first lead of the game 16-14 with three minutes to go in the first period.
The remainder of the quarter was back and forth. Breaux scored to tie the game 22-22 to end a wild first eight minutes.
Baskets by Hunter Silveira and Carlin put Bridge City on top to start the second quarter. The Mustangs' Andrew Cooper ripped a three pointer before Silveira scored again followed by two points from Breaux to give the Cardinals a five point advantage 30-25.
Bush hit back to back baskets to boost Bridge City's lead to eight points 36-28. WOS cut the lead to one point but Carlin closed the first half with a three to give the Cardinals a 39-35 lead.
Carlin began the third quarter with a field goal. Later in the third Gutierrez made two free throws that gave Bridge City its largest lead of the game eleven points at 51-40. West Orange-Stark trimmed the margin but still trailed 55-49 after three.
Braylen Solomon of the Mustangs made the final points in the third quarter and the first two of the final quarter. O'Neal made consecutive buckets and then Jamikael Davis nailed a jump shot that tied the game 58-58 with 4:33 to play in regulation.
Gutierrez for the Cardinals and Cooper for the Mustangs exchanged making a pair of free throws apiece. Ja'Vaughnte Richard with WOS and Breaux of Bridge City traded field goals to keep the game knotted 62-62 with just over two minutes to go.
At 1:47 of the fourth Breaux appeared to give the Cardinals the lead with a driving layup, but was called for a charging foul wiping out the two points. With less than a minute remaining Gutierrez sank the second of two free throws to put Bridge City up by one point and later Breaux did the same thing to extend the Cardinal lead to 64-62 with twenty-six seconds left.
West Orange-Stark inbounded the ball and called a time out with seven point six seconds on the clock. The Mustangs inbounded again in the forecourt this time and got the ball to Geramicah Davis who put up a three point shot for the win at the buzzer but it hit the rim and stayed out.
Bridge City got balanced scoring on the night including four Cardinals in double figures. Aaden Bush led with 15 points, followed by Jagger Carlin with 14, Aiden Gutierrez with 13, and Lincoln Breaux who had 11 points.
The Mustangs got 19 points from Andrew Cooper to lead all scorers. Three Mustangs Jamar O'Neal, Braylen Solomon, and Jamikael Davis finished with 9 points each.
Cardinal Coach Randall Robertson was excited with the clutch win by Bridge City. "This game had a lot of implications for second place seeding for the first half of district. This one's really big for us. We're playing good right now. I tell the Cardinals great teams find ways to win in close games like that," Robertson exclaimed.
Little Cypress Mauriceville played the first place Silsbee Tigers on Friday. Silsbee won 75-56 to remain undefeated in the district. Alantheon Winn led the Bears with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Bryson Price scored 15 points and Braylon Lewis had 11 points for LCM.
Bridge City with its two wins during the week are in second place in District 19-4A at 5-1 behind Silsbee. West Orange-Stark at 4-2 is in third place. Little Cypress Mauriceville at 2-4 is battling with Lumberton and Vidor for the fourth and final playoff position in the district.
Second half district action started Tuesday, January 23, with Bridge City hosting Silsbee, West Orange-Stark traveling to Vidor, and Little Cypress Mauriceville having its second bye date. The Cardinals and Bears play at LCM High School on Friday, January 26 while the Mustangs face the Lumberton Raiders at West Orange-Stark High School.
The battle for first place in District 22-3A took place on Wednesday, January 24, at Kountze between the Orangefield Bobcats and the Lions. Orangefield suffered its first district loss 55-46 to the Lions. Jaden Scales scored 21 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, with 4 assists while Zane Wrinkle finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds for the Bobcats.
Friday night Orangefield bounced back beating Kirbyville 65-41. Scales was again the top scorer for the Bobcats with 22 points. Griffin Thomas made 18 points, Kadyn Rucker had 9 points with 8 rebounds, and Zane Wrinkle led the Bobcats with 11 rebounds and 9 assists. Wrinkle also scored 6 points which gave him over 1,000 points as a Bobcat.
Orangefield started the second half of district at home on Tuesday against Buna. The Bobcats next game is Friday, January 26, at Hardin.