Twice Liberty-Eylau fought back from double-digit deficits against host Texas High Tuesday night, but one final run gave the Tigers a 63-56 victory.
The Leopards (13-8) led once in the game, 21-20, in the second quarter. Texas High responded to rebuild a 12-point cushion, only to see L-E rally to trail 37-33 at intermission.
It was the outside shooting of guards Zane Dodson and Ben DePriest that sparked the Tigers in the first two quarters. Dodson scored all eight of his points in the first half. The Leopards kept it close with 6-5 senior Javon Hunter pouring in 12 of his game-high 15 points in the opening half.
“Credit L-E tonight, they fought,” said Tiger mentor Jacob Skinner. “I know this is coach (Dewaski Davis) first year over there, and he’s trying to build something. We saw film on them where they got down and didn’t play well at the end. They did tonight.
“Credit our guys, too. We’ve got a bunch of guys who have played on the freshmen and junior varsity teams. We’re trying to mesh them all together. We’re playing a little bit different than they did the past couple of years. We’ve shot glimpses, and when we play well we’ll be up ten or fifteen points. When we don’t, that lead is not nearly the same.”
Texas High defense plays big role in outcome
Texas High built another 10-point lead in the third quarter. Again L-E rallied, but could never get closer than two points. The Leopards had opportunities, but turnovers piled up in the second half.
DePriest led the Tigers’ scoring with 12 points, while 6-8 C.J. Kelley added 10. Michael Thomas also played well for THS (7-10), finishing the night with nine points. Gaven Smith scored five of Texas High’s 10 points in the final eight minutes.
“Montavius Johnson really played well tonight and gave us a spark,” said Skinner. “He was on the junior varsity last year. Dodson came off the bench and really played well. I don’t know how many points he scored, but he gave us a big lift early in the game.”
Kentraile Atkins tallied 14 points for the Leopards, including eight in the fourth quarter when L-E made its final challenge.
The two schools split the sub-varsity games.
Liberty-Eylau’s junior varsity survived a furious rally by the Tigers to win, 51-50. Taja Stewart and Keyvuntae Featherson led the Leopards with 15 points each. Josh Jennings added 12. Jakobe Johnson scored a game-high 20 for Texas High, with Braxton White adding 16.
The Tigers’ freshmen prevailed, 60-49. Damon Augutus led the winners with 19 points, with Xavier Daingerfield contributing 15. Tracy Revels had 11 for L-E, and Roderick Galloway added 10.