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O’Connor shocks EC Hornets in opening round of playoffs
Falls City junior Phillip Lyssy (10) heads up court with teammates in tow after stealing the ball during the Beavers’ playoff game with Sabinal. The Yellowjackets defeated Falls City 55-47 in the area championship.
SAN ANTONIO -- With a heart-breaking 68-61 loss to O’Connor last week, the East Central Hornet basketball team watched its season come to a screeching halt, just as it seemed the momentum was peaking.
The Hornets finished out the regular season with an impressive 109-80 win over Highlands. The team earned a share of the District 28-5A crown, and seemed poised to make another strong run at the region and state titles. Unfortunately, O’Connor stepped in to play the role of spoiler.
East Central started the game well and led O’Connor 20-17 after the first eight minutes of action. The Panthers came back in the second period, though, outscoring the Black and Gold 24-20, and taking a 41-40 lead into the locker room.
The Hornets made some necessary halftime adjustments, and regained the lead in the third period. When the clock reached zero, East Central fans celebrated the lead, 55-51.
In the fourth period, the game took a dramatic change. The Hornets seemingly lost their ability to score, and O’Connor jumped on every opportunity that fell its way. The Panthers were able to outscore the Hornets by 11 points in the final stanza, giving O’Connor the win, 68-61.
Evan White led the Hornets with 21 points, followed by John Baker with 20. Ceddrick Ali scored 9 for East Central, and Jermaine Dotson dropped in another 6. Derrick Johnson and Jalen Bowen each scored 2 points, and Jeremy Jones scored on a free throw.
The Hornets end their season with an overall record of 25-8, and went 9-1 through their district season. They are also the District 28-5A co-champions. The Hornets have a great deal of young talent on the roster, and should be an early-season favorite and a team to watch in Class 5A play next season.
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