PORT ARTHUR —
Although turning the ball over 33 times, West Orange-Stark caputured the No. 1 seed out of District 21-3A with a thrilling come-from-behind win 64-63 win over Silsbee here Friday night before a packed house in a one-game playoff between the two distict co-champs.
The Mustangs (25-8) now advance to bidistrict as the top seed out of 21-3A and will match-up with 22-3A’s fourth seed Coldspring Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Baytown Lee Junior College.
Silsbee (24-9) will take on Splendora at 8 p.m. Tuesday, also at Lee JC.
In one of the more tightly, but also evently called basketball games in a long time, the two teams combined for 61 total turnovers with Silsbee committing 28 floor miscues themsleves in the loss
“I’ve never seen so many traveling calls in my life, but they (the officials) definitely called it evenly both ways,” said WO-S coach Jason Wilkins. “But I am so proud of our kids for being resilient and battlingadversity all night. We just never gave up.”
Officials were from the Ft. Bend chapter in southwest Houston.
This was a contest that was so tightly called, neither team appeared to get into a smooth flow of play during the entire game.
WO-S’s win avenges Silsbee’s defeat of the Mustangs on Tuesday’s final night of the regular season which sent both teams into a one-game winner-take-all battled for the top district playoff seed -- each at 11-2 in league play.
West Orange-Stark was in trouble right of the bat as Indiana State-signee Laquarious Paige (only eight total points on the night )was saddled with two fouls in the opening two minutes of the contest and spent the last three minutes of the opening quarter and the entire second period on the bench. Silsbee took advantage of it and led 36-28 at halftime on the strength of Chris Elam’s 11 points and Patrick Reed’s 10 tallies.
In the second half though, the Mustangs outscored the Tigers 31-27, and in the decisive fourth period, Wilkens club managed a 15-12 lead.
Wilkins’ club led by four point (64-60) as leading scorer Brandon Joubert hit 2-of-4 decisive free throws in the last 31 seconds to push the Mustangs to their biggest lead of the contest. Silsbee’s Elam missed on a long three-pointer with 0:09, but Reed knocked down a three-point with just one-tenth of a second left in the game to make the final score closer than it showed on the scoreboard.
WO-S had taken an 8-5 lead in the opening two minutes, but trailed throughout the entire night until Chase Rutledge’s layup with 4:14 remaining in the game provided the victors a 58-57 lead, a lead it never relinguished.
On the keys to the Mustang victory was the ability to get the ball inside to senior post Tyrant Thompson, who hit six field goals inside and added a free throw for 13 points.
“One of our main goals going into the game was to get it inside to Tryant (Thompson), something we had difficulty doing in our loss last Tuesday against Silsbee,” said WO-S’s Wilkins. Joubert lead the way for the winners ith 14 points, including 8-of-11 free throws and more importantly 4-of-6 in the final period. Deionte Thompson also had 13 for the Mustangs.
Reed led the way for Silsbee with 22 points, while Elam added 16 tallies.