GATESVILLE — Thomas Winkler was not happy to lose, but found a bright spot.
After splitting a pair of games against Crawford during last weekend’s Whitney tournament, the Pirates traveled to Gatesville for a third encounter between the teams in less than a week.
This time, Crawford made a baseline layup as time expired to beat Gatesville 36-34 on Tuesday. While the outcome was not what Gatesville’s head coach wanted, he was pleased once the final buzzer sounded.
“I’m glad we are done playing them,” Winkler said. “I don’t think I want to see them for a while.”
The series began Thursday, when Crawford won 43-41, and continued Saturday as the Hornets earned a measure of revenge with a 48-41 victory, setting up a tiebreaker of sorts Tuesday that swung the Pirates way after the Hornets suffered through a late scoring drought.
Gatesville (2-6 overall) trailed 28-25 entering the fourth quarter, but snatched momentum thanks to Tobias Moore, who connected on three consecutive 3-pointers. The last occurred 5:45 remaining n the game and gave the Hornets a two-point advantage, 34-32.
It proved to be Gatesville’s final field goal. Crawford responded with a game-tying basket with four minutes remaining. The score remained tied until Clayton Baker connected on a shot from underneath the basket as the final buzzer sounded.
“They just went baseline and our help side (defenders) didn’t get there,” Winkler said.
Moore, who finished with a game-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds, six blocks and three assists, agreed with his coach.
“We just let them go,” the senior post said. “We just let them go up with it wide open.”
Moore received little offensive help in the second half, accounting for all but two of the Hornets’ 15 points. Seth Martin had a particularly rough night shooting, connecting on three of 12 shots and missing all five of his second-half attempts.
Nevertheless, Winkler had no problem with his junior guard putting up attempts.
“I don’t have a problem with Seth shooting the ball,” Winkler said. “He’s got a good shot, and he normally knocks them down. He dropped 25 (points) in a game over at Whitney and 15 the next game. I’m never going to tell him not to shoot it, and they were open shots.”
Gatesville jumped out to an 11-9 lead after the first quarter and went into halftime leading 19-16. The Hornets pushed their advantage to 21-16 in the third quarter on Justin Massey’s steal and fastbreak layup, but Crawford used a 6-0 run to claim a 22-21 lead before increasing their cushion to three points, 28-25, heading into the fourth quarter.
Then Moore began draining 3-pointers, but the hot streak ended and Gatesville missed its final five shots of the game.
“We have to value possessions more,” Winkler said. “You lose your guy one time on defense and think it is just one time, but when it comes down to one possession, that can get you beat. You take one bad shot, and it is just one time, but that possession can get you beat.”