LAMPASAS — It was a subpar shooting performance, and Aaron Nuckles is happy about it.
In one of its final games before opening District 27-4A play next week, Lampasas struggled to make field goals against Canyon Lake on Thursday.
The Badgers missed 38 of 53 attempts from the floor, including a 3-of-24 showing from behind the 3-point arc, forcing the players to find other ways to win.
And they did.
Despite the poor offensive outing overall, Lampasas scored when it counted, putting together a 12-4 run late to break open a three-point game, propelling the Badgers to a 41-32 victory.
While Lampasas’ head coach would prefer higher shooting percentages, Nuckles embraced the outcome.
“The thing I’m most pleased with is that we won,” he said, “and we shot horribly. They found a way to do it.
“Our shooting will get better, but if we can score enough to win without hitting a lot of 3-pointers, then we’re doing something right.”
The Badgers led for virtually the entire contest, but it was not easy.
After taking a 7-6 lead into the second quarter, Lampasas (6-11) lost its advantage as the Hawks opened the period with four unanswered points before the Badgers responded with seven consecutive points, including Michael Murray Jr.’s buzzer-beating putback to end the half. The surge spanned into the third quarter, where Lampasas inflated its cushion to double digits at 26-16.
But the Hawks rallied, trimming the deficit to three points, 29-26, with approximately four minutes remaining in regulation.
They would not get any closer, though.
The Badgers embarked on a 10-0 run highlighted by senior Raul Malave’s 3-pointer to regain control, pushing their lead to 41-30 before Canyon Lake (11-11) recorded the game’s final basket with time diminishing.
“We just started making open shots,” Malave said, “because we were finding the open man.
“We finally began making plays that got us buckets.”
Mavale and Murray each finished with six points and five rebounds to complement sophomore Nate Borchardt’s team-high 11-point showing, while teammate Colton Linville added seven points and three rebounds.
The victory snaps a four-game losing skid for the Badgers, giving them momentum heading into their home contest against Goldthwaite on Monday before opening district at Taylor on Jan. 17.
Although the team intends to enter district on a winning streak, Nuckles’ attention is elsewhere.
“Our focus right now is 100 percent on us,” he said. “It’s about what we need to do individually to get better and what we need to do as a team to get better.
“Once district is here, we will focus on Taylor, but for now, we have to focus on ourselves and how we can get better.”
LAMPASAS 41, CANYON LAKE 32
Borchardt 11, Linville 7, Murray 6, Porter 6, Malave 6, Bramon 5.
Canyon Lake (32)
Griffin 14, Spaulding 6, McAuliffe 4, Pauly 4, MacRoberts 2, Rowe 2.
Lampasas 7 7 13 14 — 41
Canyon Lake 6 4 10 12 — 32
3-Point Field Goals – Lampasas 3 (Borchardt, Linville, Malave), Canyon Lake 0. Free Throws – Lampasas 8-12, Canyon Lake 6-13. Fouled Out – None. Total Fouls – Lampasas 16, Canyon Lake 14. Technicals – None.
Records – Lampasas 6-11, Canyon Lake 11-11.