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Mustangs roll past Bobcats

By Ronnie Hughes

Leader Correspondent

ORANGEFIELD – The Mighty Mustangs of West Orange-Stark proved to be too much to manage for the Orangefield Bobcats Friday night. The Mustangs trounced the Bobcats, 69-42 in the Cats’ house with star senior, T.J. Wallace leading the way with 19 points. The Mustangs have found rhythm and balance with the return of their starters that got held over into the football season.

“Structure and consistency are the things I notice that are coming together,” said Mustang Head Coach Tremaine Hancock “We’re still trying to find our rotation, but we are able to move the ball better and make some shots.”

West Orange jumped out early and never looked back. Tarek Riley drained a three-point shot from the top of the arch to cap a 13-1 opening run for the Stangs’. Orangefield was held to just one point up until the 45 second mark in the first quarter before Aven Lathrop hit a three to end the Bobcat drought. The Cats’ were unable to attack the basket and forced to take bad shots due to the swarming Mustang defense.

The Bobcat offense looked for a solution to their offensive woes to start the second quarter as they trailed by ten points. Junior, Wesley Frillou, hit a three-point play from the corner to give the Cats’ some kind of promise. Wallace answered back for the Mustangs though with a breakaway basket for their first points of the quarter. The Bobcats cut the lead to 21-17 after a 10-2 run sparked by Payton Lathrop aggressively attacking the basket. Corey Skinner put an end to the Bobcat run though with a quick three followed by a Wallace pull-up three from deep to again ignite the powerful Mustang offense. Mustangs led, 34-22, at the half with Wallace erupting for 13 first half points.

Orangefield opened the second half with improved looks at the basket and ball movement. Rainey Jacob started the scoring with a flash to the basket for an easy lay-in bucket. Wallace, however, would responsd back yet again along with Mandel Turner-King who showed his power around the rim. The two squads battle back and forth, before the Mustangs would pull away with Turner-King grabbing a rebound and the put back to make it 49-33 at the end of the third. Turner-King had seven points on the night.

Aric Cormier kept the Mustang momentum going into the fourth quarter. Moments into the quarter Cormier hit long range jumper to extend the lead to 20 points for the Stangs’. An opening 10-2 run by the Mustangs to open the fourth sealed the Bobcats fate in the 24-4A district matchup. Jacob ended the Cats’ dry spell with a short pull-up jumper for two of their nine fourth quarter points. Payton Lathrop led all Cat scorers with 11 points in the loss. While Brettin Wiley chipped in 12 for the Mustangs.

The Mustangs(4-9,1-1) will continue district play Tuesday at home with Hamshire-Fannett coming to town. The Bobcats (4-15,0-2) will have the day off and will return to action Friday at Hamshire Fannett as they hunt for their first district win of the season.