GATESVILLE — It was a matter of meeting standards.
Heading into Tuesday’s game, Lampasas knew it would receive the best from Gatesville. Playing the final game of the season, the Badgers were aware the Hornets, who were winless in District 6-4A, would fight for the victory.
And they were right.
Through the first two quarters, the teams went back and forth with Gatesville taking a slim 33-31 advantage into halftime, but it did not last.
The Badgers outscored the Hornets 26-9 in the third quarter thanks in part to a run of 17 unanswered points, and cruised to a 74-52 victory.
Following the win, Lampasas head coach Aaron Nuckles admitted the outburst was spurred by a change in approach.
“Our mentality and focus is all that changed,” he said. “We weren’t satisfied with how we played in the first half, and we weren’t living up to our standards.
“We didn’t draw up any new plays at halftime. We were just more focused and had a better mentality.”
After the Hornets recorded the game’s opening basket, Lampasas responded with 10 consecutive points, but Gatesville had an answer. Behind a 3-of-5 showing from behind the 3-point arc, the Hornets rallied to tie the game 15-15 heading into the second quarter.
Despite making just three field goals in the period, Gatesville continued to keep pace, building a pair of four-point cushions before going into halftime ahead by two points.
Then, the Badgers found their rhythm.
Paced by junior guard Nate Borchardt, who scored the 1,000 th point of his career in the first quarter, Lampasas surged ahead. Borchardt posted seven of his game-high tying 16 points in the third quarter, making all three of his field-goal attempts as the Badgers made 11 of 16 shots in the period.
“We just weren’t playing our best basketball in the first half,” Lampasas guard Austin Wilson said. “In the second half, we got our heads on right and just went out and played.
“We just overthink things sometimes.”
The run continued into the fourth quarter, where the Badgers outscored Gatesville 17-10 behind sophomore Carter Johnson, who made all five of his field-goal attempts to score 10 of his 14 points. Johnson also finished with eight rebounds.
In all, four Badgers posted double-digit points with Michael Murray Jr. scoring a dozen points to go with four rebounds, three assists and two steals, and Tak Stinnett adding 11 points on three-of-four 3-point shooting. Additionally, Landon Mulcahy had nine points, six rebounds and four assists.
In defeat, Gatesville (5-19, 0-8) was led by junior Logan Edwards, who scored 16 points, and senior teammate Si Sheets’ eight points complemented the effort.
The loss ends a tumultuous season for the Hornets, who struggled to find consistency as the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the program throughout the district schedule. Despite the obstacles, Gatesville head coach Brit Campbell believes a lot was accomplished.
“We had younger kids step up,” he said, “we kept working in practice, and their effort, especially the seniors, just wouldn’t allow us to quit.
“They kept showing up to work, and I’m just very proud of all the guys.”
While the outcome concludes the Hornets’ campaign, the Badgers, who already have their postseason berth secured, are aiming to improve their seeding.
Lampasas (18-4, 4-3) enters Friday’s regular-season finale against Brownwood in a tie for second place with the Lions following their 43-35 loss to No. 19 Glen Rose on Tuesday. A victory would give the Badgers sole possession of the spot, but it will not be easy.
Brownwood won the first encounter 69-56 on Jan. 26, and during the last eight games, the Lions produced five double-digit victories with their only defeats coming against the state-ranked Tigers twice and Stephenville.
“We want second place,” Nuckles said. “That is our goal, and I like the last game of the season being a meaningful game. I think it will help keep us sharp.
“And there are worse things than being third, but we want to be second.”
LAMPASAS 74, GATESVILLE 52
Borchardt 16, Johnson 14, Murray Jr. 12, Stinnett 11, Mulcahy 9, Crawford 7, Brookreson 3, Wilson 2.
Edwards 16, Sheets 8, Carroll 8, Allman 7, Adams 4, Brizendine 3, Appelman 3, Gomez 32.
Lampasas 15 16 26 17—74
Gatesville 15 18 9 10—52
3-Point Goals–Lampasas 6 (Stinnett 3, Borchardt 2, Brookreson), Gatesville 8 (Edwards 3, Carroll 2, Allman, Sheets, Brizendine). Free Throws–Lampasas 8-18, Gatesville 18-29. Fouled Out–Edwards. Total Fouls–Lampasas 24, Gatesville 15. Technicals–Lampasas 1 (Johnson).
Records–Lampasas 18-4, 4-3 6-4A; Gatesville 5-19, 0-8.
y-Glen Rose 7-0
x-clinched playoff spot
y-clinched district title
- Lampasas 74, Gatesville 52
- No. 19 Glen Rose 43, Brownwood 35
- BYE: Stephenville