Late-surging Mustangs fall just short to Coldspring

Published 2:51 pm Thursday, December 31, 2020

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WEST ORANGE – Getting off to a slow start, the West Orange-Stark Mustangs made a nice surge against Coldspring Thursday at Mustang Gym but the Trojans were able to hang on to walk away with a 69-62 victory.

The Mustangs (6-8) dug themselves a hole in the first half, trailing the Trojans (6-0) 17-7 at the end of the first quarter and 36-19 at halftime.

The Trojans, ranked No. 3 in the state in the Class 3A ranks, built their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter with a 46-25 lead. However, the Mustangs upped their full-court pressure that hampered Coldspring the rest of the way as WO-S went on a 37-23 run to end the game.

The Mustangs could not control Trojan guard Duke Lawniczak, especially in the first half. Lawniczak poured in a game-high 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds with 26 of his points coming in the first half.

Trojan post Dante Eldridge joined Lawniczak in the double-double club as he finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out midway in the fourth quarter.

Bryan Keller, Michael Wardlow and Jailen Brown led the second-half WO-S rally as the trio teamed up for 31 second-half points.

Keller finished with 17 points and six rebounds and hit two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Wardlow had a double-double, notching 14 points and 10 rebounds while Brown had 11 points, eight coming in the fourth.

The Mustangs forced the Trojans into 28 turnovers, 16 of them coming in the second half. WO-S finished with 19 turnovers, 13 coming in the tough first half.

Coldspring finished with a 48-43 rebounding edge.

Point guard Cam Shaw-Rucker led the Trojans with a game-high 13 rebounds and had six points while Jared Curry added seven boards.

Rocedric Pappillion had six points and nine rebounds for the Mustangs while Braden Gant also had nine rebounds.

The Mustangs finished 13-of-22 from the free-throw line while the Trojans converted 17-of-25.

The Mustangs will return to District 22-4A action Tuesday when they travel to Vidor. WO-S is 1-0 in 22-4A play after a district-opening win over LC-M.