Friendswood's upset bid comes up short against Dickinson

FRIENDSWOOD — The Dickinson Gators came to Friendswood with a perfect district record while the Friendswood Mustangs were looking to knock off the league leaders while moving up to stay in playoff contention.

For the first three quarters, it appeared that the Mustangs were going to pull off the biggest upset of 24-6A, but a 19-4 fourth quarter run spelled doom for Friendswood as they fell 73-70.

Griffin Schneider provided the firepower that the Mustangs needed with a game-high 33 points including three 3-pointers while hitting 8-of-11 from the free throw line.

Friendswood jumped out to a 15-10 first quarter lead as Dickinson had no answer for Schneider who pumped in 10 points.

The Mustangs lit it up in the second quarter outscoring the Gators 26-22 for a 41-32 lead at intermission.

Again, Friendswood was riding the back of Schneider who scored 12 more points.

However, the Gators defense took over the second half as Schneider was limited to a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe with no field goals in the third quarter.

Dickinson took the third period 18-14 on their climb to get back into the game still trailing 55-50 entering the final frame.

With just over four minutes left in the game, the Gators were trailing by 12 points.

That's when Dickinson freshman Tramon Mark and senior Jarian Spells began the comeback for the Gators.

A pressing defense and seven turnovers by the Mustangs didn't help Friendswood's cause as they began to come unraveled.

Mark and Spells combined for 13 points during the 19-4 run.

With only 2:40 left in the game, Dickinson trailed 68-63.

The full-court pressing defense forced two straight inbound steals by the Gators who made two easy layups and the Gators trailed by one, 70-69.

After a miss by the Gators on offense, Dickinson's Darius Smith grabbed the missed shot and drew the foul to go to the free throw line with 52.8 seconds remaining.

Smith sank both freebees giving Dickinson a 71-70 lead.

The turnover bug bit the Mustangs again allowing the Gators to get the ball and score on an easy layup for a 73-70 advantage with 30 seconds left.

Friendswood was unable to find the long bomb to tie up the game and the Gators pulled out the win to remain undefeated in the district standings at 8-0.

The Mustangs can't afford to lose anymore at 3-5 if they hope to keep their season going in the playoffs.

Alex Dehoyos had a good game on offense with 17 points and Tanner Bandini tossed in 11.

Mark led the Gators with 18 points while Spells and Smith each had 10 points.

"You name it, we did it wrong down the stretch," Friendswood head coach Jeff Keener said. "I've got to put us in better situations.

"The things we did well in our last outing, taking care of the ball and making free throws, we didn't do that against Dickinson."