Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
Withstanding a furious Orangefield rally, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs walked away from Bobcat Gym with a 63-56 victory over the gritty Bobcats to remain perfect in District 21-3A play Friday night.
The Mustangs (22-7, 9-0) coasted out to a commanding 41-20 lead early in the third period but the Bobcats (14-11, 3-7) simply had no quit in them.
Orangefield finished the third period with a 12-6 run and scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter.
Eventually, a Carl Wiley running jumper with 2:21 left in the game cut the deficit to just two at 55-53.
However, the Mustangs turned to their senior leader Laquarious Paige to seal the game. Paige knocked down six consecutive free throws in the final two minutes to enable the Mustangs to hang on. Paige finished with a game-high 24 points.
Down 47-32 entering the fourth period, the Bobcats found the hot hand quickly.
Carmichael Wiley scored seven of his points in the final period and guard Dustin Verrett pumped in six, including a critical three-pointer while post Mason Sonnier scored five in the quarter.
The Mustangs only made two field goals in the fourth but a big one came when Tre Spencer hit a big three-pointer to push the WO-S lead to 59-54.
Free-throw shooting was big in the last eight minutes as WO-S made 10-of-12 from the charity stripe while the Bobcats were just 6-of-12.
Mustang post Ty Thompson contributed 12 points and nine rebounds. Guard Brandon Joubert tallied nine points. Deionte Thompson had seven points and collected eight rebounds.
Carl Wiley led the Bobcats with 13 points. Carmichael Wiley finished with 12 points. Matthew Kress chimed in with 11 points and eight rebounds. Verrett had eight points while Sonnier had seven points and collected eight boards.
The Mustangs led 11-8 at the end of the first period with Paige scoring seven in the quarter.
WO-S stretched its lead to 27-16 at the half with a 16-8 spurt in the second quarter as Paige and Ty Thompson combined for nine in the period while Carmichael Wiley scored five for the Bobcats.
WO-S looked seemingly in total command midway through the third after a Tavin Terrell bucket put them up 41-20.
All the Bobcats did was proceed to go on a 33-14 run to get to within two on Carl Wiley’s bucket with a little more than two minutes left.
The Bobcats, who still have a good chance to make the playoffs in the fourth-place slot and will if they defeat Buna and Bridge City, outrebounded the Mustangs 35-30.
The Bobcats turned the ball over 22 times but only had one in the game’s last nine minutes. The Mustangs coughed it up 11 times.
WO-S finished 19-of-27 from the free-throw line while the Bobcats were 19-of-29.
The Mustangs will host Buna Tuesday. The Bobcats will have a bye Tuesday and will host Buna in an important tilt next Friday.
In other 21-3A action Friday night, the Bridge City Cardinals (13-14, 2-7) took down the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns (8-19, 2-7) 51-45.
Bridge City will visit Hardin-Jefferson Tuesday.
Ozen boys 71, LC-M 32
BEAUMONT — After getting stung by Little Cypress-Mauriceville in the first half of District 20-4A play, the Beaumont Ozen Panthers had no problems Friday night as they downed the Bears 71-32 at Panther Gym.
The Panthers (23-5, 9-2) held the Bears (18-12, 7-4) scoreless in the first quarter and snared a 15-0 lead and increased it to 30-10 at intermission.
A 22-7 Panther run in the third period helped put the game away.
James Armstrong led the Bears with eight points whiloe Jace Robertson had seven.
Ryan Haynes led the Panthers with 18 points.
The Bears can lock up a playoff berth still with a home win against Lumberton Tuesday.