By TONY EIERDAM
BRIDGEPORT – After coming back from 10 points down to trail by one with seven seconds left to play last night in a boys’ Class 3A, Region I bi-district playoff game here Tuesday, the Mineral Wells Rams, trailing by a point, had the ball after Hirschi Huskies’ guard Cedric Battle missed a crucial free throw.
But the basketball gods were not with the Rams as a turnover spoiled what could have been a remarkable comeback victory over a Hirschi team that came into the playoff contest as a heavy favorite and with a No. 21 ranking in 3A.
Hirschi, which should have salted the game away with a minute to play but committed an unthinkable error, hung on to defeat the Rams, 63-62, as the Huskies will advance to the area championship round.
The Rams end the season with a 15-12 overall mark.
Hirschi briefly extended its lead to 10 points late in the second quarter, but for most of the contest the margin was slight as the Rams held two leads in the first and second quarters and never trailed by more than six points in the second half.
Hirschi’s largest lead in the fourth period was five points, albeit briefly, and for the last four minutes of the contest Hirschi never held a lead larger than four points.
“Our kids were prepared and ready for the challenge,” Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said. “I think they proved that to anybody who watched the game.
“We came up short, it is disappointing, but at the same time I am proud of the kids and the effort they put forth.
“We just told the kids to hang in there and keep getting stops on the defensive end and try to take care of the basketball. We tried to make sure we got a good shot on every possession, and for the most part we did that.”