No love was lost in a heated battle on the court on Friday at the Special Event Center when the Fort Stockton boys basketball team squared off against Alpine.
Tempers flared between fans, players, and coaches throughout in down-to-wire finish.
Alpine took a commanding 25-16 lead by halftime behind senior Brady Crump and junior Aiden Morriessey, who led the Bucks with seven points apiece in the first 16 minutes of play.
Morriessey took the game into his own hands in the second half, scoring 13 of his team’s 26 second-half points - 11 of those points being recorded in the third quarter - to lead his team to a 52-44 win.
The junior finished the contest with a game-high 20 points. Jayden Canaba and Cody Barragan each finished with nine points.
Following the game Fort Stockton head coach Jimmy Martinez noted that his team’s lack offense in the first half certainly played an important role in the loss, but his wasn’t upset at the shots his team took in the first two quarters.
“I think we got good shots in the beginning of the game they just weren’t falling. I told the guys, keep attacking and keep shooting,” he said.
Caleb Garcia led a rapid rally in third quarter for the Panthers with a pair of 3-pointers and a 2-point basket in the frame, bringing the score to 33-32 in the Bucks favor with 1:57 left in the third.
“He got hot, played great and was grabbing rebounds,” Martinez said.
After falling behind 44-37 with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter, Devon Rodriguez, who scored a team-high 11 points for the Panthers, made a 3-pointer with 3:47 left in the contest to bring Fort Stockton within four points at 44-40.
Jayden Canaba responded on the other end for Alpine with a 3-pointer of his own to extend the Bucks lead to 47-40 with 2:20 to play.
Fort Stockton’s Christian Mireles brought the game within reach for the Panthers with a 2-poiint conversion while getting fouled with 31 seconds left, cutting Alpine’s lead to 48-44. But the senior failed to convert the free throw and Alpine made their free throws and rebounded on missed ones to close out the game.
While the result was not in the favor of the Panthers, Martinez was more than pleased with his team’s effort during Friday’s loss.
“The kids fought. This is probably our most complete game we’ve played,” he said. “I couldn’t be any prouder of our team. We’re getting better and hopefully by district’s we’ll be better.”
With the loss, Fort Stockton’s record is now 2-11 and the Panthers losing streak extended to nine games dating back to Dec. 11.
PANTHERS LOSE DISTRICT-OPENER, 11TH STRAIGHT GAME
The Fort Stockton Panthers lost their 11th consecutive game to begin district play on Tuesday, Jan. 12 when the Panthers hosted Greenwood.
Greenwood took a 10-0 lead with 4:50 remaining on the clock in the first quarter and had a 19-4 advantage after eight minutes of play.
The Rangers extended their lead to 37-14 by halftime in route to a 76-31 win over Fort Stockton.
Ethan Acosta was the leading scorer, finishing with 10 points and four rebounds. Devon Rodriguez finished with 8 points for the Panthers, while Dominic Aguilar had seven.
Fort Stockton’s record falls to 2-13 with the loss. The Panthers will play again this week, in Andrews on Saturday.
PRESIDIO DEFEATS FORT STOCKTON
The Fort Stockton Panthers Varsity basketball hosted their second-to-last Saturday game of the season against the Presidio Blue Devils on Jan. 9.
Fort Stockton recovered from an early 22-11 deficit with seven minutes left in the second quarter, cutting the Blue Devils lead to 38-35 with 3:18 left in the third quarter via a Devon Rodriguez 3-pointer.
Dominic Aguilar added a 2-pointer to make it a 40-37 game the following possession before Presidio pulled away in the final quarter of play, outscoring the Panthers in the last frame 22-13.