Boys’ basketball falls in battle with Trojans

The team lost a tough game after being up through three quarters

Devante+Mount+walks+to+the+locker+room+after+losing+to+New+Braunfels+earlier+this+season.+Mount+scored+13+points+in+Tuesday+night%27s+playoff+loss+to+Austin+Anderson.

Devante Mount walks to the locker room after losing to New Braunfels earlier this season. Mount scored 13 points in Tuesday night's playoff loss to Austin Anderson.

Jackson Posey, Sports Editor

Boys’ basketball fell to Austin Anderson last night, 58-52, despite holding a four-point lead through the game’s first three quarters.

The game began at the breakneck pace that has come to characterize high school playoff basketball over the years. The star of the quarter was Austin Kenwisher, who put up all eight of his points and two of his four assists in that first frame. The Rangers nearly led at the conclusion of the quarter, but a Trojan tip-in at the buzzer set the scoreboard to 22-21, in Anderson’s favor.

The second quarter tasted quite chalky, finishing as a 10-10 tie. It could’ve been much worse for the Trojans had they not hit three straight three-pointers late in the quarter. The blitz was led by star guard Max Smith, last season’s District 25-6A offensive MVP who is most well-known for this buzzer-beater against Austin Bowie earlier this year. He’ll likely head to the University of Texas next season as a preferred walk-on, but for now, he’s draining buckets against unsuspecting high school foes. 

By halftime, a few important patterns had already begun to develop. The Trojans had run the clock out in each of the first two quarters and would do so in the final two as well. They also scored in bunches, evidenced by separate runs of 12 and nine. But the Rangers – the designated road team – engaged in a few frustrating habits of their own.

One of these was the passivity at which they approached their offense. One of the team’s possessions lasted over a minute, and not for clock management purposes; they were simply that methodical.

The passivity stretched to freshman Zayden High, who entered halftime with just two points to his name despite being an athletic mismatch for the Trojans. Halftime proved to be key for him, as he came out with a completely new mindset. Two Anderson layups aside, the second half began with a High assist, a High layup, a massive High block off the backboard, and two more High scores. All in all, he was responsible for the team’s first eight points of the half. Foul trouble forced him out of the game, however, which proved to be the turning point in the game.

Kenwisher and Devante Mount finished off the half assisting one another, closing out a 9-0 run. Anderson chipped in four points at the end of the quarter to trim the lead to four, but the momentum still lay squarely with their opponents. At least, it did.

The Trojans opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run that proved to be too much to overcome. The team hit just five of 10 free throws down the stretch, and never led by more than eight throughout the game. But the Rangers could only muster eight fourth quarter points. 

The team had played disciplined throughout the game, but it unraveled a bit near the very end. They gave up too many “free points” – points scored off of turnovers or offensive rebounds. The only reason Anderson managed to collect as many trips to the line (seven) as it did in the fourth quarter was their dominance on the glass. They won the rebound battle by a large margin, so once their defense got going, they were simply too much to stop. 

Coach Ike Thornton reiterates the importance of “Winning Time” – how little mistakes can turn winnable games into losses. That mantra held strong for the first three quarters, but in the fourth, mistakes cropped up: giving up an offensive rebound here, a bad turnover there. All of it came to a head with about 90 seconds left in the game, when for a half-minute the Rangers, who trailed by five at the time, simply refused to foul.

Aside from a few moments late in the game, the Rangers played solid basketball against a quality opponent. But nobody picked up the scoring load. Last time these two teams played, three players scored more than 20 points: Owen Woodard, Kenwisher and Devante Mount. Tuesday, Mount led the team with 13 points. 

The Trojans will move on to face San Antonio Brennan (21-12, 11-7) while the Rangers watch from home.