Quick payback puts Dragons back at .500
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Southwest.
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Southwest couldn’t erase the heartbreak of losing to New Braunfels Canyon in the championship game of its tournament, so it did the next-best thing in the do-over.
The Dragons (9-9) prevailed when the teams faced each other in a rematch of their Southwest Tournament finale Jan. 2 on the same court. Canyon (8-10) nipped Southwest 47-46 Dec. 30 in the tournament title game. The visitors claimed revenge with a 72-63 decision.
“We executed very well,” first-year Southwest coach Lance Lipscomb said. “The kids were disappointed when we lost in the championship game. We felt we should win our own tournament.
“How often do you have a chance to get right back and get that rematch? Usually a loss like that sticks with you for a while.”
The loss to Canyon was the only one Southwest incurred in the tournament and for the week. The Dragons defeated Eagle Pass 79-71 and Southside (5-10), which didn’t win a tournament game, 71-58 Dec. 29. On the last day Dec. 30, Southwest bombed Carrizo Springs 52-47 to reach the title game.
“We looked a little bit better,” Lipscomb said of the rematch. “We shot the ball better. Jake Harris for Canyon is a phenomenal player. We told the kids he was going to get his points and (Southwest’s) Aaron Embry was going to get his. But I told them our other four were better than their four.”
Embry, a fourth-year starter, scored 24 points and Harris had 23 in the first meeting between the teams. No other Dragons players contributed more than seven points.
On Jan. 2 at Southwest, their scoring was much more balanced. Embry again led the way, scoring 19 points. Behind him, sophomore Jacob Bedford-Chase chipped in 17. Brandon Munoz and freshman DeAndre Griffin each produced 14 points.
Bedford-Chase came off the bench and quickly found his shooting touch.
“I don’t think he’d scored in double figures before this year,” Lipscomb said. “He took advantage. He hit his three(-pointers) and made free throws. He played pretty good defense.
“He really ignited our offense. When he hit some shots outside, it opened up some drives and we were able to get to the basket.”
Southwest led throughout the rematch and had the lead for much of the championship game. However, the Dragons’ shooting touch went cold at the worst time.
New Braunfels Canyon claimed the lead when Southwest was unable to score in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“How many teams don’t score for seven minutes and it’s still a one-possession game?,” Lipscomb said. “Our defense wasn’t too bad and we forced turnovers. Harris found some open shooters and kids who don’t normally make threes hit threes.”
In the Southside game, Embry popped in 25 points and Munoz added 19. Bedford-Chase produced eight.
Manny Martinez led Southside with 21 points. Alex Rangel scored 11 points and Robert Hernandez nine for the Cardinals.
The Dragons won’t begin their District 28-6A season until Jan. 16 against Corpus Christi King at Southwest. They’re hoping to pick up two wins in the coming week and bring the momentum into the district.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Lipscomb said. “South San and Corpus Christi Carroll are doing really well. East Central is always competitive.”