Bears nab road win over Mustangs

Published 10:24 pm Friday, January 17, 2020

WEST ORANGE – It was another basketball barnburner between the host West Orange-Stark Mustangs and the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears Friday night in District 22-4A action at Mustang Gym.

It was the Bears that walked away with a very important road victory as they were able to hold off the charging Mustangs 45-44.

LC-M (14-11, 3-1) never trailed in the contest and looked to take total control early in the third quarter before the Mustangs (12-15, 1-3) put together a strong comeback.

The Bears built a 34-23 cushion midway through the third quarter but the Mustangs finished the period with a 10-1 spurt behind the effort of Labarious Spraggins to trim the gap to 35-33 entering the fourth.

LC-M, sparked by junior Jesse Doucette and freshman Ben Elliott throughout the night, built a 39-33 edge after a Doucette bucket. However, the Mustangs scrapped right back as a strong move inside by Spraggins knotted the game up at 41-41.

The Bears got two key baskets late from Doucette and Humberson to grab the late lead. Down one with less than eight seconds left, Spraggins barely missed a three-point shot to win it for the Mustangs and WO-S guard Terry Harris rebounded the miss and missed another shot for a possible win as time expired.

Doucette led the Bears with 19 points and hit three three-point bombs while Elliott had 13 points, seven of them coming in the second quarter.

Spraggins led the Mustang attack with 19 points and had five rebounds. He erupted for 15 of his points in the second half, scoring seven in the third quarter and eight more in the fourth. Jalen Ross had 10 points and five rebounds while Harris had seven points.

The Bears raced out to a 15-9 lead after the first quarter with Doucette going for seven points and Jackson Smith had five.

The Mustangs opened the second quarter with the first six points to tie it up at 15-15.

The Bears closed out the period with a 10-5 mini-run with Elliott scoring seven in the spurt while Doucette buried a big three-pointer.

Another big key for the Bears, despite missing several point-blank layups in the second half, was that they controlled the battle of the boards.

LC-M outrebounded the Mustangs 36-25.

Ethan McCollum yanked down a game-high 10 boards for the Bears. Smith hauled in seven rebounds while Junius Stevens had six. Shemar Manaway had five rebounds for the Mustangs.

Both teams protected the ball well despite facing heavy pressure. The Bears committed 15 turnovers while WO-S had 12. LC-M was 8-of-13 from the free-throw line while the Mustangs were 4-of-8.

The Bears will return home Tuesday to host the Silsbee Tigers while the Mustangs will remain at home to take on the Lumberton Raiders.

Silsbee (13-11, 4-0) defeated Hardin-Jefferson (19-9, 4-1) 68-65 Friday.