LAMPASAS — It was a night of firsts for Lampasas.
The Badgers earned their first victory of the season Tuesday night, defeating Canyon Lake 58-39, and in the process, helped new head coach Aaron Nuckles collect his first win with the program.
But Lampasas also took its first step toward developing a new identity.
The Badgers relied on a full-court defensive strategy to aid in producing 19 turnovers while limiting the Eagles to just 24 percent shooting in the victory.
And it also led to a pair of 10-second violations against Canyon Lake, which Nuckles admits is a new experience for him.
“Two years ago,” he said, “I wouldn’t be playing like this. It used to be all halfcourt with me — pick them up, jam the lanes and don’t give up open shots — but part of this game is working around what you’ve got, and we’ve been dealt some dudes who can guard the ball and defend for 90 feet.
“This is the first time in my coaching career that I’ve got two 10-second calls, so it’s awesome, and it shows we can do it.”
The second time Lampasas (1-1) prevented the Eagles from crossing midcourt came on the heels of a game-changing offensive outburst.
After taking a 24-11 lead into halftime, the Badgers inflated their cushion to 16 points at 31-15, but Canyon Lake responded with eight unanswered points to cut the deficit in half.
The Eagles would not get any closer, though.
Lampasas embarked on an 18-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarters, and moments after Badgers senior Bryce Winter recorded a steal and fastbreak layup, he helped force Canyon Lake’s second 10-second violation.
“That’s not going to happen every game,” Nuckles said, “but it is fun when it does.”
Winter finished with a game-high 17 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter on a perfect 5-of-5 showing from the floor, while teammate Kyle Sims added 10 points. Additionally, seniors Austin Martin and Tyler Quarles tallied seven points apiece for Lampasas.
Both teams struggled to score early.
The Badgers only posted two points in the first five minutes of action, and Quarles’ 3-pointer moments before the first-quarter buzzer gave Lampasas a 7-3 lead.
In the second quarter, however, the Badgers began finding their rhythm, connecting on 7 of 14 shots as their advantage grew to 20-7 on Winters’ shot in the paint.
Following halftime, Lampasas relied on its defense to help secure the outcome, though.
“I’ve told the guys that we are going to have to hang our hat on defense and just wearing people down,” Nuckles said. “That had something to do with our run late in the third quarter.
“They just physically couldn’t get back in transition anymore. ... That was the difference: We wore them down and those sloppy passes were getting tipped and deflected, and they led to layups.”