Bobcats fend off Cardinals for playoff spot

Published 9:14 pm Friday, February 16, 2018

LITTLE CYPRESS — Behind a superb shooting effort from guard Aven Lathrop, the Orangefield Bobcats defeated rival Bridge City 37-36 to capture the fourth-place playoff berth out of District 22-4A Friday night at The Grove at LC-M High School.

Lathrop erupted for a game-high 20 points. He scored eight in the final quarter, including a huge three-pointer late to put the Bobcats (17-16, 4-7) up 36-33 as Orangefield was able to hang on. Lathrop had four three-pointers on the night.

Bridge City (12-18, 3-8) senior post Hunter Wiegreffe wrapped up his last game in a Cardinals uniform with a stellar effort as he collected a double-double, scoring 15 points and snagging a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Bobcats will now move on to face District 21-4A champion Shepherd (22-8, 7-1) in the Class 4A Region III bidistrict playoffs next week.

The Cardinals trailed the Bobcats 25-21 at halftime but turned up the heat defensively in the third quarter.

Bridge City outscored Orangefield 8-3 in the third period as the Bobcats did not make a field goal as the Cardinals snagged a 29-28 edge going into the fourth quarter.

A Lathrop rebound and putback eventually tied the game at 33-33 and the Bobcats ran off the next four points, including a Lathrop trey that put them up 36-33.

Bobcat Jacob Rainey sank 1-of-2 free-throws to make it 37-33 with 0:32 remaining. However, Bridge City’s Coy Bryant, who had two three-pointers on the night, buried his second one with five seconds remaining to trim it Orangefield lead to one.

The Cardinals fouled Bobcat Tyrone Waggoner, who went to the line for a one-and-one with three seconds left and Orangefield was called for a lane violation to give the Cardinals one last shot.

The Cardinals inbounded the ball, trying to get the ball to guard Chason Burch, who’s three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Cardinals a big win at home over the Bobcats in the first half of 22-4A play, but the Bobcats ended it as Lathrop stepped in front for a steal.

Alex Catt and Zach Dischler each had five points for the Bobcats. Waggoner led Orangefield with six rebounds while Lathrop, Catt and Dylan Williams had four boards each.

Bryant and Caleb Honeycutt each had six points for the Cardinals while Burch had five. Noah McFarland added five rebounds.

The Bobcats led 13-12 after the first quarter as Lathrop had five points while Wiegreffe and Burch had five apiece for the Cardinals.

Lathrop scored seven and Dischler five in the second quarter to spark the Bobcats while Wiegreffe tallied six for Bridge City.

The Cardinals finished with a 28-23 rebounding edge. The Cardinals finished with 11 turnovers while the Bobcats protected it well, giving up just six. Orangefield was 4-of-7 from the free-throw line while Bridge City was 7-of-8.