ROBSTOWN — Refugio hadn’t played a game in over two weeks and for three quarters of its Class 2A bi-district game it showed.
The Bobcats were in double digits in turnovers, had trouble finding its offensive rhythm and trailed Freer.
Refugio warming up for bi-district game against Freer in Robstown. pic.twitter.com/b2XlV3Yj4f— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) February 23, 2021
“I think that’s about as bad as we’ve played all-year long,” said Refugio coach Eli Boxell. “I mean no disrespect to Freer by any means, but we have been playing with a lot of confidence and a lot more chemistry than we did tonight.”
The Bobcats got it together in the fourth quarter and went on to a 48-35 win Tuesday night at the Robstown gym.
Refugio improved to 10-3 and moved into the area round against Sabinal. The area game will be played Thursday in Floresville at a time to be determined.
“It’s hard coming out playing when you haven’t played in two weeks,” said Refugio’s Jordan Kelley. “We definitely knocked some rust off there in the fourth quarter.”
The game turned with Refugio’s 1-3-1 full-court press, which forced the Buckaroos (8-7) into a number of turnovers that led to easy baskets.
“That’s one thing we’ve gone over all year was our full-court press,” Kelley said. “It worked out for us tonight.”
Nothing much was working for the Bobcats in the first half. They didn’t make a field goal until 6:32 was left in the second quarter.
Freer’s Elliot Ramirez torched the Refugio defense for 18 points in the first two quarters, and the Buckaroos took a 26-21 lead into halftime.
“Most of the first half we played man-to-man defense and we were just standing in mud,” Boxell said. “They were going right around us for layups and we weren’t getting any help on defense as if we’ve never played it before.”
But Refugio held Ramirez scoreless in the second half, and was able to cut the deficit to 31-30 at the end of the third quarter.
The Bobcats took the lead for good on two of seven straight points by Hayden LaFrance, and outscored the Buckaroos 18-5 in the final quarter.
“We didn’t have a really good first three quarters,” LaFrance said. “We started off slow. They just came fired up and we need to be more ready for that.”
La France was a force under the basket and had 13 points.
“Hayden’s been solid all-year long,” Boxell said. “Him and his brother (Ty) do good things for us. He has a big body down low that has a nice touch for a big kid.”
Antwaan Gross led Refugio with 18 points and Kelley had 11.
“I thought the kids did some good things in the fourth quarter,” Boxell said. “It’s going to have to continue over or we’ll be done.”
Class 2A Bi-District
Refugio 48, Freer 35
Points: (F) Elliot Ramirez 18, Austin Utley 6, Hondo Bierstedt 1, Joel Guerra 6, Jonathan Hassette 4. (R) Jordan Kelley 11, Antwaan Gross 18, Desantos Doomes 3, Caleb Hesseltine 3, Hayden LaFrance 13.
Halftime: Freer 26-21. 3-pointers: Utley 2, Guerra, Doomes, Gross. Records: Freer 9-7; Refugio 10-3.