By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

AUSTIN – The Slocum Mustangs rode into Austin with the hopes of following in the Lady Mustangs footsteps by making it to the state tournament in San Antonio.

On Friday, March 3, they took on the Dime Box Longhorns, ranked #9 in the final regular season Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll. The Mustangs came into the game ranked #23 and for a while it looked as if Slocum might be able to overcome a 10-point deficit to pull off the upset and advance to the Regional Finals on Saturday.

Unfortunately it was not meant to be for the Mustangs as they fell by a final score 55-47.

Slocum struggled from the field in the game’s opening minutes and found themselves in a 10- point deficit after the first eight minutes of play. The Mustangs only managed to net six points in the first quarter on two-point buckets from Keet Cockerham, Taylor Hunt and Alex Maldonado.

The Longhorns, meanwhile, poured in 16 to open up a 10 point margin over Slocum. Robert San Juan led the way for Dime Box with eight points while Shannon Cox hit a pair of 3-pointers and Caleb Toney had two to make the score 16-6 after the first period.

As the second quarter got underway, the Mustangs began to chip away at the Longhorns’ lead. Slocum scored 14 in the period and held Dime Box to 10. Hunt dropped in four While Cockerham and Travis Neal both hit a 3-pointer. Cameron Jones and Jacob Lane also broke into the scoring column with two apiece.

Brandon Moore paced Dime Box with six points while San Juan added four to his total to bring the score at halftime to 26-20, in favor of the Longhorns.

After the break, the Mustangs continued to shave points off the Longhorn lead. Neal dropped in four while Cockerham and Maldonado both knocked down 3-pointers. Hunt and Lane added two apiece as Slocum cut the deficit to four by the end of the third.

Cox connected on his third three of the game for Dime Box and was joined in three point land by Elijah Gamble. Moore, San Juan and Toney all had two apiece to make the score 38-34 with eight minutes remaining in the game.

Try as they might, Slocum simply could not come all the way back from the 10 point first quarter deficit. In the final frame, Hunt poured in eight while Neal had three and Cockerham scored two

Shaver Cotton paced the Longhorns as he converted five of seven free throws. Moore added four, Cox along with Gamble both drained 3-pointers and Toney closed out the game with a two as Slocum fell to Dime Box by a final of 55-47.

The Longhorns were led in scoring by Robert San Juan with 14 points. Shannon Cox and Brandon Moore both had 12 while Elijah Gamble and Caleb Toney both had six. Shaver Cotton closed out the Dime Box scoring with five.

The Mustangs were led by Taylor Hunt with 16 points as both Keet Cockerham and Travis Neal had 10. Alex Maldonado dropped in five, Jacob Lane netted four and Cameron Jones chipped in two to round out the Slocum point production.

While it wasn’t the way the Mustangs wanted their season to end, The Messenger would like to extend our congratulations to the Slocum Mustangs on a great year.

PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE LIMERICK

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.