Friendswood escapes with a win over Clear Falls

FRIENDSWOOD — The District 24-6A opener pitted Friendswood against Clear Falls with the Mustangs barely escaping with a 45-43 win to begin the league competition at 1-0.

The game was actually closer than what it should have been due to the Mustangs struggling at the free throw line.

Friendswood took the first quarter 12-9 thanks to 3-pointers by Daniel Martinez, Chance Ayers, and Elijah Martinez.

The Mustangs built a 19-14 lead midway in the second period before Clear Falls got two layups to cut the margin to 19-18.

The Knights closed out the quarter 4-3 to make the score 22-22 at intermission.

Clear Falls took the third quarter 12-8 making the score 34-30 entering the final stanza in favor of the Knights.

The game turned into a shooting contest at the charity stripe for the Mustangs as they shot 16 free throws, but they only were able to cash in on eight keeping Clear Falls in the game.

Leading 43-39 with just under a minute to play, Clear Falls hit a basket to cut the margin to 43-41 with 46 seconds left in the contest.

Ayers was fouled with 27 seconds left and stepped up in the clutch to sink both free throws to push the Friendswood lead to 45-41.

The Knights scored with 17 seconds left to cut the lead back to two 45-43.

Friendswood's Ty Shelby, who scored 11 points in the game, missed both free throws leaving the door open for the Knights to tie or win the game in the final seconds.

The Knight's 3-pointer with one second remaining bounced off the rim, allowing Friendswood to escape with a 45-43 win.

“Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t,” a relieved Friendswood head coach Jeff Keener said. “They executed their play, and I told our kids not to allow the shot from the corner…but that’s high school kids.”

Ayers scored 12 points to lead the Mustangs offense while Martinez had eight, Andrew and Alex Dehoyos added four each.

Friendswood finished the game hitting only 15-of-28 free throws.

“We just didn’t play very smart,” Keener said of his team. “We made a lot of silly fouls and other silly plays.

“In the end, our kids battled, and the effort was there. Shelby was everywhere inside. Anything in the paint, he was contesting it. We just tried to play good team basketball. We’re still a work in progress.”