TRINITY — The last time Mitchell reached the 70-point plateau, it lost in a scoring spree versus county basketball power Ridgewood.
But this time the Mustangs didn't allow another solid offensive performance go to waste, as Mitchell slipped away with a 74-67 victory Tuesday night.
Mitchell (3-2) pulled ahead with a 25-13 lead in the early moments of the second quarter, but the Wildcats stayed in the game thanks to the timely shooting of freshman guard Christian Parra, who scored five points in the second. He finished with nine points and six rebounds.
But it would not stay close for long.
After Wesley Chapel (2-1) hit its first four free throws to start the third quarter, Mitchell went on a 10-0 run to take a 49-34 lead with 4:51 left in the quarter. The Wildcats stayed within striking distance after a 3-pointer by Erik Thomas cut the lead to 55-45 to end the third quarter. He finished with 17 points.
The teams were even on the boards with 27 for each, but crucial fouls and free throws in the fourth quarter would prove the backbreaker down the stretch for the Wildcats.
Mitchell went 10-of-13 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to halt Wesley Chapel's comeback efforts and ice the game.
"I have a lot of offensively gifted players," Mitchell coach Jared St. Charles said, whose team had six players score nine or more points. "But the defense is really struggling right now and we're going to be working on defense all day tomorrow and probably all day on Thursday."
Wharton 66, Plant 51: In a second-quarter stretch, 6-foot-1 senior Damian Dixon and 6-5 junior A.J. Astroth combined to sink six consecutive 3-pointers to help propel Wharton (5-1, 2-0) in a Class 6A, District 8 contest.
When Plant (2-4, 0-2) adjusted, extending its defenders and limiting Wharton to one second-half trey, the 'Cats went inside. Brawny 6-4 junior Xavier Owens scored on a dunk and natural three-point play to spark a 9-0 third-quarter run that gave Wharton a 49-33 lead.
Joey Knight, Times staff writer