Hallettsville boys hold off Tidehaven to advance

Feb. 25, 2012 at 12:04 a.m.
Updated Feb. 24, 2012 at 8:25 p.m.

Few know how a bull will react when trapped in a corner. In Hallettsville they just dig their feet in and start fighting.

Friday, the Brahmas were forced to scrap, fight and press their way to a 66-60 victory over Tidehaven in the area round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

"When you have a tight game you have to take the buckets when you get them," said Hallettsville head coach Steven Davis. "They weren't coming easy tonight. Any chance we got, I was happy to take it."

The Tigers (15-16) were also a feisty bunch, yet they couldn't find a way past the reigning regional champions. Head coach Josh Faglie couldn't say enough about the grit of both teams, but specifically the effort his seniors put in during their final varsity game.

"Our kids fought hard all year," Faglie said. "(Friday), was just another example of how hard we fight. It was an extension of their attitudes and how hard they wanted to fight.

"We have come a long way this year. They have come a long way in their high school career. I am really proud of my seniors and the underclassmen that had a part in it as well."

Senior starters Jimmy Leatherwood, CJ Lampkin and Aaron Fisher combined for 35 points.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, the key to the game might have been a play where the call went against Leatherwood when the game was tied for the ninth and final time.

With 4:41 remaining Hallettsville's Dalton Herrington and Leatherwood struggled for the ball at midcourt. The Tigers were in the bonus and their fans wanted Herrington to be whistled for a foul.

The referee saw a jump ball situation.

Possession was awarded to the Brahmas and they never looked back. Hallettsville went on a 5-0 run over the next 75 seconds to take 56-51 lead into a timeout. With 3:22 remaining.

Leatherwood had seven second half points and Faglie said his defensive intensity helped Tidehaven get back into a game they trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half.

"He's been a big part of a lot of games this year," Faglie said. "He's not the biggest guy out there and he might not be the most talented, but you can't tell him that."

Tidehaven pressured Hallettsville up and down the court, and the Brahmas were not used to a team with such suffocating defense. At the outset, Davis did not think the Tigers press would impact his team, but it did.

"We've always pressed all year. This is the first time we have faced the press a lot," said Herrington, who led the Brahmas with 15 points. "We haven't faced many pressing teams this year. We usually get the ball up the floor and we struggled with that tonight. That's something we are definitely going to have to work on and get better at."

Hallettsville (25-6) turned the ball over 24 times on the evening. But, they also forced the defensive-oriented Tigers into 24 turnovers. In the fourth quarter, the Brahmas only gave away the ball three times, whereas the Tigers had six turnovers.

Herrington said his team works on end-of-quarter and end-of-game situations. He believes that preparation helped the Brahmas take a 6-0 run into halftime, weather a momentum-shifting 3-pointer from Jaron Johnson at the end of the third quarter and pull away in the fourth.

Anthony Vesely scored 10 first half points. Logan Herrington added 11 points and Trevor McGee added 15 points and high intensity for Hallettsville, as they advanced to play Van Vleck in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal Monday night in Ganado.

After the game, the Hallettsville fans sang Happy Birthday to Davis, who turned 24 Thursday. A trio of cheerleaders presented the first-year basketball coach with a chocolate cake as he walked toward the locker room.

NEXT GAME: Tuesday in Ganado, 7 p.m. against Van Vleck.



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