Never say die Mustangs pull out win over Clear Springs


FRIENDSWOOD — There is one thing that any opposing coach of the Friendswood Mustangs tells their players and that is never quit and be prepared to play the entire game because the Mustangs will take you down to the final seconds of every game.

In fact, the Friendswood basketball team has had a season-long motto "1extra" as the Mustangs found themselves in needing "1extra" game to keep their season alive as the No. 4 seed from District 24-6A.

Their task was to get one more win over the Clear Springs Chargers to extend their season in the post-season and they accomplished that goal with a hard-fought come-from-behind win 63-60.

With only 2:35 left in the third quarter, Friendswood found themselves trailing 43-31.

"We had every reason to lay down, but we just kept talking about being positive and they did," head coach Jeff Keener said. "We made it a point to get Tanner looks in the fourth quarter. He really got us going."

That was when junior guard Alex Dehoyos got things rolling with a short jumper to cut the lead to 43-33.

Junior guard Tanner Bandini joined the rally as he and Dehoyos combined to score 27 of the final 32 Friendswood points.

After Dehoyos hit a one-and-one from the charity stripe to cut the lead to 43-36, the Mustangs closed out the period with baskets by senior guard Griffin Schneider and junior guard Elijah Martinez to cut the lead to 45-40 entering the final frame.

Bandini opened up the fourth period with a 3-point bomb to cut the lead to 45-43 and the Chargers knew they were in trouble.

Just a few seconds later, Bandini fired in another long-range missile giving the Mustangs their first lead of the third quarter 46-45.

With a little over five minutes still left in the game, Clear Springs took a 50-47 lead.

Friendswood tied up the game at 50-50 and then Dehoyos got a fast-break layup for a 52-50 advantage with four minutes left in the game.

Bandini scored again with 2:46 left in the game as he drove the basket, hit the bucket and drew the foul. After hitting the free throw, the Mustangs led 55-51.

The two teams traded out 3-pointers as the Mustangs maintained a 58-54 lead at the 1:46 mark.

Clear Springs would get a 3-pointer to tie up the game at 60-60 with only 30.2 seconds left in the do-or-die contest.

The Chargers fouled Dehoyos with 17.8 seconds left and the clutch shooter hit both free throws for a 62-60 lead.

After the Chargers missed a layup, they were forced to foul Jake Yurachek who hit one-of-two from the line with 4.2 seconds left in the game.

But an aggressive Friendswood defense forced a turnover and the Mustangs pulled out the 63-60 win.

Dehoyos led the Mustangs with 20 points while Bandini added 15 and Schneider tossed in 14.

Friendswood faces the Dawson Eagles who were District 23-6A co-champs. The game was played on Tuesday (late). Check at www.reporternewssports.com for the results.