Great Mustang comeback falls just short against Longhorns

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

WEST ORANGE – It was a whirlwind of a game for the West Orange-Stark Mustangs as they almost pulled off an amazing comeback against the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns Tuesday night at Mustang Gym in their season opener, but they fell just short 73-71.

The Mustangs (0-1) dug themselves an early 19-4 hole against the Longhorns (0-1) and trailed 43-25 at the half before making a furious comeback attempt in the last 16 minutes and almost pulled one off for first-year head coach Chris Castille, who was proud of the Mustangs as they never gave up against a very talented Hamshire-Fannett squad.

Trailing 70-62, the Mustangs received back-to-back three-point bombs from Trinton Garrett to trim it to 70-68 with just under a minute left. Jailan Ardoin sank two free-throws for the Horns to eventually make it 72-69. Mustang guard Adrian Crochett cut it to 72-71 with a layup with 3.65 seconds remaining. The Longhorns got a free-throw from Ardoin after he missed the first attempt to grab the 73-71 edge. Garrett got off a desperation three-point attempt for the Mustangs just over the half-court line as time expired, it was lined right, it just fell short.

Ardoin had a huge outing for the Longhorns, finishing with a game-high 32 points. Garrett had 12 points for WO-S as he canned four three-pointers on the night.

Guard Aundrew Samuel led the Mustangs with 17 points and he hit two three-pointers and was 5-of-6 from the line. Post Rocedric Pappillion and forward Michael Wardlow each had double-doubles for the Mustangs. Pappillion had 14 points and 14 boards while Wardlow had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Joshua Holifield chimed in with eight points for WO-S while Crochett had six.

Reggie Coleman had 11 points and eight rebounds for H-F with all of his points coming in the first half. Jackson Seastrunk pumped in 11 points and snared five boards. Kage Drake contributed seven points and seven rebounds while Xavier Leger added six points and five boards.

Both teams finished with 34 rebounds each. The Longhorns made 24-of-35 from the free-throw line while the Mustangs went 13-of-20. H-F finished with 22 turnovers while the Mustangs had 19.

The Mustangs were slow out of the gate as Ardoin and Coleman combined for 14 points for the Longhorns and WO-S committed eight of its turnovers in the quarter.

The Longhorns outscored WO-S 24-21 in the second quarter as both teams were hot.

Drake and Leger combined for 13 points for the Horns in the period. Samuel tallied eight points for WO-S in the quarter, including two three-pointers, while Wardlow had six points in the period.

The Mustangs starting chipping away in the third period, outscoring H-F 18-13 to pull to within 56-43 heading to the fourth. Pappillion flexed his skills inside with seven points in the period while Ardoin had eight for the Longhorns.

WO-S had the Longhorns in panic mode in the fourth, creating havoc with their full-court pressure and forcing H_F into eight turnovers in the quarter. Pappillion and Holifield also did some damage inside in the quarter, combining for 13 points. That set up Garrett’s back-to-back three-pointers late when the Mustangs made the one final push that just came up a bit short.

The Mustangs will look to bounce back Saturday when they host Shepherd.