Plays Elkhart in Bronze Bracket
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – The Slocum Mustangs made their first appearance in the Houston County Tournament and acquitted themselves quite well in the tournament’s Pool Play portion.
While they lost both games and had a record of 0-2, the Mustangs could have just as easily been 2-0. Their first game against the Malakoff Tigers saw the Mustangs lead throughout the game over the much larger Class 3A school, until the fourth quarter. Against Grapeland, the Mustangs trailed by one at halftime and lost by three, 54-51.
In Game One against Malakoff, Slocum opened up an early 17-12 lead thanks to a balanced attack from Taylor Hunt with six and Jacob Lane with five. Colby Thornton had four and Travis Neal had two.
The Tigers were paced by Kederrius Thomas and Jake Lee, both with six.
The second quarter was more of the same as Slocum opened up a 35-27 lead the break. Edwin Martinez led the way in the second quarter with six while Malakoff was paced by Thomas with four.
Following the intermission, the Tigers mounted a comeback. Trailing by eight at the start of the third, Malakoff got points from five of the seven players on their roster to cut the lead to 49-48 by the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Tigers overtake the Mustangs and pull away to win by a final score of 71-62.
Malakoff was led in scoring by Andreas Garrett with 16 and Jake Lee with 14 points. The Mustangs got 18 points from Taylor Hunt while Jacob Lane and Colby Thornton had 16 apiece.
During the second game of Pool Play, the Mustangs took on the Grapeland Sandies. Despite leading for most of the first half and never trailing by more than seven, the Mustangs couldn’t get over the hump and fell by a score of 54-51.
As the game got underway, Slocum took advantage of the early start time, as it seemed as if the Grapeland players were still asleep, and opened up with a 15-12 lead after the first quarter of play.
The Mustangs led throughout the second quarter – until the 34 second mark – when Grapeland took its first lead of the game and went into the break leading by a score of 31-30.
The Sandies’ first half scoring leader was Tyrin Wiley with seven points while the Mustangs were paced by Jacob Lane with 11. It should be noted the two teams combined for 13 3-pointers in the half, with Grapeland knocking down seven and Slocum nailing six.
After the intermission, the Mustangs allowed the Sandies to open up their biggest lead of the game before settling for a 46-42 score with eight minutes remaining in the contest.
To their credit, Slocum would simply not go away as they would not allow Grapeland to go on one of their patented, defense-inspired runs. The Mustangs cut the lead to one during the fourth quarter but a reverse layup by Keriaun Davis gave Grapeland a three point cushion and allowed the Sandies to hold on and win by a final score of 54-51.
The Mustangs were paced by Jacob Lane with 17 and Taylor Hunt with 14 points.
The Sandies were led in points by Tyrin Wiley with 11 while Deco Bryant and BJ Howard scored nine apiece.
The losses moved the Mustangs into the Bronze Bracket where they took on the Elkhart Elks and won by a final score of 43-35. For a complete wrap up of this game along with other games of the tournament, please check back on-line or see the Thursday Jan. 4 edition of The Messenger.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.