LAMPASAS — In the end, it was about the beginning.
After snapping its three-game losing skid with a victory against Taylor on Wednesday, Lampasas needed to build on the momentum Friday against Salado.
And the Badgers did.
Led by three double-digit scorers, Lampasas cruised to a 61-34 victory, ending the night with a celebration.
But Badgers head coach Aaron Nuckles was more impressed with the way his players opened the contest.
“The kids requested to come out and play full court man-to- man defense,” he said. “In the past, they weren’t real excited about that, but now, they are starting to want to because it gives us a chance to go out and get some turnovers and easy buckets.
“And their start to the game was huge.”
Lampasas recorded the contest’s first dozen points and never slowed down, using a 27-9 run to bridge halftime and put the game completely out of reach.
Senior wings Austin Martin and Kyle Sims led Lampasas offensively with 17 and 15 points, respectively, but each did so differently, according to Nuckles.
“When Austin starts hitting shots,” Nuckles said, “he starts making them for a long period of time, and he’s really feeling comfortable right now. He’s shooting 3-pointers, and he’s driving.
“He’s just a changeup from Kyle, who is so rugged and rough, while Austin is just smooth and sleek.”
Despite their differences in style, both made shots from all over the floor, combining to make 11 of 24 shots, including a 6-of-17 showing from behind the 3-point arc.
Additionally, junior Kolby Penick scored 12 points for the Badgers, and teammate Phillip Blackstock had eight.
After taking an 18-4 lead into the second quarter, Lampasas inflated its cushion to 34-15 by halftime as it closed the quarter on a 14-3 outburst.
Then, the Badgers opened the second half with an 11-2 run en route to a 32-point advantage at 55-23.
Caleb Self scored a team-high 10 points for the Eagles, who fell to 3-3 in District 19-4A, while teammate Peyton Miller recorded nine points.
With the victory, Lampasas improves to 19-8 overall and 3-3 in district, and although Nuckles would prefer a better record, he believes the Badgers are in a good position entering the second half of district competition.
“We were in a low, low, low spot,” Nuckles said, “and a lot of these kids haven’t been in that type of a spot because they are use to winning.
“And they responded. Things look a lot different for us now.”