Boys basketball: Mitchell 65, Wiregrass Ranch 60
TRINITY -- Wiregrass Ranch was able to dig itself out of a 10-0 hole and get on level terms with Mitchell, but poor free-throw shooting stymied the Bulls in their hopes for a comeback victory Thursday.
Mitchell made some clutch free throws itself to hold off Wiregrass 65-60, sending the Mustangs to 7-1 on the season. After senior guard Devin Wilson, who led the Bulls wtih 21 points, cut the lead to 61-59, Mitchell answered with two free throws each from Justin Marquez and Jimmy Eannel.
"You kind of knew it would come down to free throws," said Mitchell coach Jared St. Charles. "Both teams were at 10 fouls so early. Marquez and Eannel came through there."
With both teams playing aggressive defense the sides were in the bonus by the end of the quarter, the two-shot bonus with 4:43 remaining. Free throws hurt the Bulls in the third quarter, when they managed to tie the score but couldn't do more thanks to a 1-for-8 foul-line rate.
The 3-pointers were falling though. Elijah Howell, who came in averaging 5.7 points and was 7-of-27 from long distance, made three in the third quarter alone and scored 19. The Bulls shot 4-for-7 in the third to turn a 30-24 halftime margin into a tie game. Howell's third 3-pointer made it 39 apiece but J.P. Watt, who paced the Mustangs with 18 points, answered back and Wiregrass never caught up.
Mitchell was up 54-47 on a Watt putback with five minutes left before Wilson got the Bulls back in the game. He was 3-for-4 in the fourth quarter but the rest of the Bulls went 2-for-13.
"We had to trap them because you can't let Wilson just go free. We tried to make them uncomfortable with our defense. But he got by us pretty easy there at the end," St. Charles said.
Wiregrass (4-4) couldn't handle the trap early, turning it over nine times in the first quarter as Mitchell went up 10-0. Wiregrass' comeback gained life on a bank shot 3-pointer by Justin Rush that made it 28-22.
Alec Sherman, a 6-foot-4 junior, scored eight of his 15 in the first quarter and added 12 rebounds for the Mustangs. Eannel and Mason Castricone scored 13 each, with Castricone coming off the bench for six second-half rebounds. Dalton Stokes added four assists.
"Mason injured his ankle so he's still hobbling around. We've got some nice pieces. It's exciting," St. Charles said.
Howell led Wiregrass in steals and assists with four each, and tied with Daniel Biglow for the team high in rebounds with seven.