By BRAD KEITH
MINERAL WELLS (February 22, 2016) — Huckabay fought, scratched, clawed and did everything else it could to keep its season alive at Mineral Wells High School Monday evening.
Then, in the middle of the fourth quarter, senior phenom JW Weiss fueled the Indians to a 14-2 run and ultimately to a 58-48 victory over Bryson in a Region III-A boys bi-district playoff.
For much of the night, Huckabay charged and Bryson held its ground. And once the Cowboys banked in a shot with 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter to take a 39-32 lead into the fourth, it looked like they were in control.
But Huckabay outscored Bryson 26-9 in the fourth quarter. The biggest plays were made by Weiss, who led all scorers with 18. He stole the ball in the backcourt and beat everyone the other way for a breakaway layup to give the Indians a 42-41 lead, the first Indian advantage since 8-7 in the first quarter.
Weiss split two defenders on the next possession, driving for another layup and a 44-41 lead that forced a Bryson timeout that only delayed the inevitable. The Cowboys did score inside to pull within one, but the Indians poured in the next six with Gage Dowell scoring off an assist from Taylor Lopez before a Weiss steal led to an Eduardo Sanchez bucket with help from Dowell.
The Indians were 10-10 at the foul stripe in the final 90 seconds, icing their 11th consecutive bi-district playoff victory. Iredell is next up, as Huckabay shoots for its sixth consecutive area championship.
The Indians had four double-digit scorers, their most this season, said head coach Bryan Blackwell. Joining Weiss in that category were Sanchez with 14, Dowell 10 and Lopez 10. Jordan Ritchey scored four and Tyler Stegall two.
Coach Blackwell, who is 3-o in bi-district, discusses the victory here:
Bryson led for much of the game after an 8-0 run wrapped around the end of the first and beginning of the second quarters, grabbing a 15-8 lead. Then every time it looked as if Huckabay was gaining the momentum in the second quarter, Bryson found an answer.
Weiss hit two 3-pointers, cutting Bryson leads to 17-13 and 21-18, but Bryson collected five offensive rebounds and scored four points in one possession. After the fourth offensive rebound the Cowboys were fouled while scoring. The free throw missed but that led to the fifth offensive rebound, and another put back made it 25-18.
Sanchez buried the final Indian 3-pointer of the half before Bryson added a free throw to lead 26-21 at intermission.