Hornets unbeaten in district
EAST CENTRAL -- With just three games remaining in the regular season, the East Central Hornet boys basketball team has largely flown under the radar. The guys are currently 7-0 in District 28-5A play, however, and are poised to make a solid run at the playoffs.
East Central started the year with a loss to Highlands, and sat at 2-3 just five games into the season. Things started to improve, though, and with an overall record of 21-7 as of press time, the Hornets may be peaking at just about the right time.
Last week, the Hornets took on a pair of district foes as they traveled to Corpus Christi to face the Carroll Tigers, and then hosted the Southwest Dragons on Jan. 31. East Central added two more wins, and maintained a two-game lead over Steele in the district standings.
The game against Carroll was delayed a day because of bad weather, but the Hornets and Tigers eventually clashed in their second meeting of the year, and East Central came out on top, 67-62.
Led by Brandon Keno’s 17 points, and Brandon McClure’s 15, the Hornets came out swinging in the first period of play to toss in 18 points, while holding Carroll to just 11. The Tigers came back in the second period, though, outscoring East Central by 3 points. The Hornets managed to maintain the advantage, though, and took a 35-31 lead into halftime.
East Central made some adjustments at the break and came back with another strong period of play in the third, as the Hornets outscored the Tigers 15-9. Now leading by 10, the Hornets needed to hold off the home team for just eight more minutes, a task that would prove difficult.
Carroll had its best scoring effort of the night in the fourth and final period, as the Tigers scored 22 points. The Hornets were able to remain focused, though, and put in 17 of their own. At the final buzzer, the scoreboard read 67-62 in favor of East Central.
Keno had the big night for the Hornets, as he scored 17 points and tallied one assist. He also pulled down seven rebounds, managed two steals, and added a block for good measure. McClure picked up three assists to go with his 15 points, and pulled down six rebounds. He also nabbed two steals. Jeremy Jones scored 14 with four assists, three steals, three boards, and two blocks; and Ceddrick Ali scored 12, had four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
Next on the schedule were the Southwest Dragons. The Hornets had no trouble with the visiting team, though, and ended the night with a 30-point win.
The Hornets scored at a feverish pace in the first half, as the team dropped in 24 points in the first period and 26 in the second. Meanwhile, the Dragons were held to just 27 total first-half points, and trailed by 23 at the break.
Both teams dropped in 16 points in the third, but the Hornets dialed things back up in the fourth period, outscoring Southwest 25-18 in the final stanza, and securing the 91-61 victory.
Jones led the team with 22 points and nine rebounds on the night, followed by Ali with 16 points and nine assists.
East Central was scheduled to travel to Steele on Feb. 4 to play the Knights, and will be back at home this Friday, Feb. 7, as the Hornets host the South San Bobcats. Tipoff for both games is set at 7:30 p.m.