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Mustangs zip past Bears, 60-45

WEST ORANGE — Placing three players in double figures and going on a 20-4 run late in the first half and through the third quarter, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs strolled past the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears 60-45 in District 24-4A action at Mustang Gym Friday night.

The win puts the Mustangs into fourth-place in the 24-4A standings at 5-6, one game ahead of the Bears, who slipped to 4-7.

Both teams have one game remaining on Tuesday. LC-M will host Orangefield while WO-S visits state-ranked No. 1 Silsbee.

A LC-M win on Tuesday and a WO-S loss would force the Bears and Mustangs to play again for the fourth-place playoff berth because LC-M defeated WO-S in the first half of district play. A LC-M loss to Orangefield would give WO-S the fourth-place berth.

Friday night’s affair was tight at the half as WO-S led 19-17. The Mustangs trailed 17-14 but got a big basket from guard KJ Miller, who had a game-high 18 points, and a big three-pointer from Bretlin Wiley as WO-S took the lead at intermission.

The Mustangs pulled away with a 13-4 run in the third quarter as they received big three-pointers from Wiley and Jalen Mathews to go up 32-20.

The Mustangs led 39-25 until LC-M senior guard Cameron Parker went on a three-point tear. Parker nailed two three-pointers in a row to trim it to 39-31. He would connect on two more treys in the final period and finished with 15 points.

WO-S was able to hold the Bears at bay down the stretch. Miller scored eight of his points in the final eight minutes and drained six free-throws in the quarter. Teammate Thomas Wallace tallied seven of his 16 points in the fourth period while Cory Skinner poured in nine of his 11 points in the fourth as well.

The two teams were tied at 10-10 at the end of the first quarter. LC-M post Katon Brown scored eight of his 10 points in the opening period.

The Mustangs finished with a 24-22 rebounding edge. Skinner led WO-S with six boards while Miller had five. Brown hauled in a game-high seven boards for the Bears.

WO-S protected the ball well throughout the battle, committing just six turnovers while the Bears had 16.

LC-M went 13-of-20 from the free-throw line while the Mustangs finished 15-of-22.