LAMPASAS — Nate Borchardt cleared his mind. Then, the ball cleared the net.
Looking to punctuate its nondistrict schedule with a victory, Lampasas found itself clinging to a three-point advantage against Goldthwaite with time dwindling after a double-digit cushion deflated.
But with 11.29 seconds remaining, the Badgers guard was given an opportunity to widen the gap, and he did.
Borchardt connected on both ends of a 1-and-1, virtually securing Lampasas’ 57-54 win, and while the sophomore understood the situation, he refused to focus on it as he stepped to the foul line.
“I just had to make sure I stayed level headed,” Borchardt said. “I can’t get too high or too low or think about it too much, because then I wouldn’t get the second shot.
“All I kept thinking was just how it was time to go to work.”
Borchardt made all seven of his free-throw attempts and connected on 3 of 7 3-point attempts en route to a team-high 20 points, accounting for 10 points in the first and third quarters.
The outing was nothing unusual for Lampasas head coach Aaron Nuckles, though.
“That’s Nate,” he said. “If he gets a clean look at the rim and we are smart enough to get him the ball, he can knock it down.
“I have complete faith in his shot, and he was in a good rhythm tonight.”
After junior Michael Murray Jr.’s six-point first quarter guided the Badgers to a 15-8 lead by the end of the period, Borchardt found his rhythm and carried his team.
Borchardt accounted for almost all of Lampasas’ offense in the second quarter, producing every point until Murray’s layup with approximately 100 seconds remaining in the half, and the Badgers led 27-22 going into the third quarter.
The Eagles opened the second half with an 8-2 outburst to claim a 30-29 advantage.
But it was only momentary.
Spurred by Jaylon Porter’s successful and-1 play to reclaim the lead, Lampasas (12-10) surged ahead 45-35 on Jett Bramon’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
Goldthwaite crept back into the contest with a 17-10 run, but Borchardt’s free throws thwarted the rally.
Murray, who had six rebounds, and Raul Malave (4 rebounds, 4 assists) complemented Borchardt’s showing with 10 points apiece, while Bramon added seven points, including five in the fourth quarter.
“It’s key to have multiple guys on the team scoring and playing defense,” Borchardt said. “We are all equals, and we can all trust each other to do the job.
“Nobody has to worry about when they go out, because we know somebody else will pick it up.”
Now, Lampasas turns its attention toward making a playoff push, hosting Taylor in the District 27-4A opener Friday.
“Everything gets magnified in district,” Nuckles said. “If we are up three points and don’t get a stop now, it’s magnified, so we have to clean everything up.
“We definitely don’t want to put ourselves in a hole.”
LAMPASAS 57, GOLDTHWAITE 54
Moore 27, House 14, Wootton 5, Reyes 4, Chavez 2, Jones 2.
Borchardt 20, Murray 10, Malave 10, Bramon 7, Stanley 4, Pace 3, Porter 3.
Goldthwaite 8 14 13 19—54
Lampasas 15 12 11 19—57
3-Point Goals—Goldthwaite 7 (House 4, Moore 3), Lampasas 4 (Borchardt 3, Bramon). Free Throws–Goldthwaite 6-11, Lampasas 8-13. Fouled Out–None. Total Fouls–Goldthwaite 1, Lampasas 11. Technicals–None.