As evenly matched as Friendswood and Ball High were on the basketball court, it wasn’t surprising that the District 22-5A boys clash on Tuesday night came down to the final shot.
The Tors were able to hold home court with a 45-43 squeaker over the Mustangs that improved their record to 11-8 overall while remaining undefeated in district play at 4-0.
Coach Jerald Temple’s squad was left holding their breath as a last-second attempt at overtime glanced off the rim, allowing them to make the most of Darion Henry’s run of five straight points in a 51-second span in the fourth quarter that helped give Ball High the lead for good.
“Friendswood is such a methodical, well-disciplined team, so we knew it was going to be a tough matchup,” said Temple. “I knew it would be hard to force them into turnovers, and we were able to do so at the most important time of the game.”
The win kept the Tors in control of first place in 22-5A, as they remain the only undefeated team in district.
It was late ball-handling lapses that sprung the Tors. Henry, who led Ball High with 12 points, tied the score at 41-41 with a driving layup with 1:32 remaining before a turnover led to him hitting one of his two free throws that put the Tors ahead to stay with 1:09 left. He then capped off the decisive run with another layup that extended the margin to 44-41 with 0:41 on the clock.
Tyler Polzin’s free throw gave Ball High what looked like a sure win with 0:07 left, but a pair of free throws from Ben McAndrews closed the gap within a basket. The Mustangs (10-10, 1-2 in district) forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play, giving them one last chance to either force overtime or win, but the Tors’ defense locked down and preserved the win.
Friendswood, which held a 15-13 halftime lead, held a 36-33 lead with 4:57 left following a basket from Hudson Bockart. The Mustangs took their final lead of the night when Ian Bivens’ layup put them up 41-39 with 1:54 on the clock.
“We just didn’t take care of the ball,” said Friendswood coach Caleb Marburger. “The kids played hard all night long, but between that and a few defensive lapses, the game got away from us. We’ll look at the film and learn from that.”
Giovanni Janke had seven points for the Tors, while Polzin, Nehemiah Noel and Terry Webb each had six points. Nigel Green had five and Deonza Yoakum had three for Ball.
Thomas Hamre led Friendswood with 12 points, connecting on a trio of 3-pointers in the second half. Bockart scored 10, while Isaac Pacheco added eight for the Mustangs. Gracen McGregor had five, with McAndrews and Cole Kelly had three each.
Friendswood hosts Crosby at 7 p.m. Friday, while Ball High visits Goose Creek Memorial on Friday beginning at 7 p.m.