GATESVILLE—Eight minutes was all that stood in the way of Gatesville’s quest for a tournament championship, but the Hornets were outscored 30-7 in the fourth quarter by Fort Worth Country Day to fall 67-61 in the Gatesville Holiday Tournament.
All was not lost for the Hornets, however.
Earlier in the day, Gatesville upset Class 4A No.12 Wharton 69-63 to put the Hornets in the final game.
“I’m really happy with the way we played in this tournament,” said Gatesville head coach Thomas Winkler. “I feel like we are pretty close to peaking right now as we get ready to finish up district.”
In the finale, both teams traded baskets for most of the first half until the Hornets finally broke free.
Matt Romero and Tyler Lewis both had layups to give Gatesville (12-8) a 16-12 lead midway through the second quarter. That lead grew when 6-foot-5 senior Wacey Bowland had his second dunk of the tournament when his two-handed jam put the Hornets up 18-14 with 5 minutes, 35 seconds left before halftime.
Bowland proved to be a force in the first-half by scoring 12 points, including eight in the second quarter alone. He ended the night by tallying a game-high 20 points and added nine rebounds.
For the rest of the second quarter, the home team proceeded to go on a 16-5 run to end the half, and Gatesville was up by what seemed to be a commanding 32-19 score at the break.
In the third quarter, the Falcons picked into their deficit and inched a little closer thanks to four 3-pointers. The lead was narrowed to 39-31 midway
through the quarter, but the Hornets continued to find the net.
After Alex Mata’s 3-pointer from the corner, the Hornets were back up 48-35 with 1:15 left in the third quarter, and they led 54-37 at its conclusion.
In the fourth period, the Falcons simply could not miss.
Country Day (15-3) started the quarter on a 22-2 run and had their first lead of the half when Colton Baird hit a corner 3-pointer for 59-56 advantage with 3:30 left in regulation, and the road team did not look back.
Kennon Moore and Lewis both had double-digit scoring by providing 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Josh Carroll proved to be a force on the glass for Gatesville by adding five rebounds to accompany his six points.
Joseph Breedlove led the Falcons with 19 points, including four 3-pointers in the second half.
“I thought we played really well for about three quarters there in the championship game,” Winkler said. “Lots of credit to No. 3 (Breedlove) on their team. He really caught fire and took over the ballgame.”
Led by Bowland’s 20-point effort, the Hornets defeated one of the best teams in Class 4A earlier in the day by beating Wharton.
The Hornets had a slim 28-27 lead at halftime and pulled away in the third quarter by outscoring the Tigers 21-13. Bowland and Carroll both helped the Hornets’ attack by scoring six points apiece in the period.
Six-foor-3 Moore contributed with 17 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Hornets sealed the victory by going 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Mata was a perfect 6 of 6 at the charity stripe, and the senior finished with 12 points in the game.
“We played unbelievable in the first game today,” Winkler said. “I thought we were pretty good offensively, but we were even better on the defensive end of the floor. Wharton scored 98 the first game they played in this tournament and hit 17 3-pointers, so we knew we had to get out and contest those shots.
“I was really happy about the way we got after it defensively.”
Gatesville returns to District 17-4A action Tuesday at Waco against Connally at 7:30 p.m.
tournament scores for thursday
Gatesville 69, Wharton 63
Leander Glenn 57, Goldthwaite 38
Fort Worth Country Day 47, Pflugerville Connally 44
Mexia 77, Llano 28
Llano 46, Goldthwaite 39
Pflugerville Connally 61, Wharton 51
Mexia 81, Leander Glenn 39
Forth Worth Country Day 67, Gatesville 61