MARBLE FALLS — In a weird way, Rob Shivers is content with a loss.
While Lampasas’ head coach would prefer to enter the program’s first trip to the playoffs in 12 years as the District 8-3A third seed, his team was unable to defeat Llano for a second time in three days, falling to the Yellowjackets 47-39 in a tiebreaker Friday at Marble Falls.
Despite being disappointed with his team’s overall play after defeating Llano 61-50 on the road Wednesday to force the rematch for seeding, Shivers found reason to be satisfied.
“As a coach, it is much easier to go into the next game after a loss than after a win,” he said. “When you get to this time of year, you just need something that gives you a little edge and makes practice a little better. All year, these guys have bounced back, so I’m hoping it’s the same thing next week.”
The Badgers will face District 7-3A champion Stephenville on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hamilton High School.
Although Shivers found a silver lining in the defeat, he was not pleased.
Lampasas was outrebounded 30-16 and gave up numerous second-chance points, while simultaneously failing to capitalize offensively.
“I just never thought we played very well,” Shivers said. “We never really got into a good flow with what we were doing and didn’t make shots, we missed easy shots early. I just don’t think we played very well.”
Badgers senior Shonderius Howard opened the game’s scoring with a 3-pointer, and Lampasas lead 7-5 late in the first quarter, but the Yellowjackets (19-13) responded by bridging the first and second quarters with eight unanswered points to go on top 13-7 and never relinquished their lead.
Lampasas pulled within a point, 21-20, on Howard’s dunk right before halftime, but could never completely close the gap.
Llano opened the third quarter by scoring seven consecutive points, and the Badgers missed 13 of their 15 field-goal attempts in the period before bouncing back and matching the Yellowjackets point for point in the fourth quarter.
But it was too late.
“I think the effort was there, but the physical toughness sometimes wasn’t there,” Shivers said. “It is a hard game to play because all you are doing is playing for a seed. ... But we weren’t doing the simple things.”
Howard finished with a game-high 16 points for the Badgers, while teammate Ralph Marez finished with seven and Gary Spencer added five points.
Now, Lampasas (12-18) turns its attention to Stephenville — a deep team with skilled players, which should provide a significant challenge for the Badgers.
Regardless of seed, Shivers knows his players are excited to experience the postseason and does not see the loss to Llano having any lingering effects.
“The game against Llano is over and done,” he said. “All we were doing was playing for a seed. We didn’t play well, but we can learn from it, and the best thing was for guys who haven’t been to the playoffs, this was like a playoff game. We showed up early, we had a shoot-around time, when we were the only team in the gym, so there were some things that were good for us. We got to practice how you get ready for a playoff game.”