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Lions roar with three-point barrage over Cougars, 71-66

The hoop must’ve looked larger than usual on Tuesday night for Lion basketball because shots from downtown were falling for everyone in a maroon jersey.
Ennis (17-10, 6-3) drilled 10 three-pointers against the Arlington Seguin Cougars en route to a 71-66 victory as all of the long-range success came in the first three quarters. The Lions scored at least 19 points in each of those quarters and essentially won the game in the third quarter with a 19-14 advantage. Missed free throws kept the Cougars close, but another district win was much more important than margin of victory.
“I told our guys the teams behind us are trying to take our playoff spot and that I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said coach Robert Chaney.
“Fighting for each district win has made us playoff tough. It will go down to the last game and we just have to take care of business.
“[After a prior 69-61 road win against the Cougars,] Seguin came in here hungry and played better offensively this time. We didn’t do a good job of stopping penetration and it opened up threes for them, especially in the first half.”
Blake Hart had a superb all-around effort with 20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and four three-pointers. Barry Hughes contributed seven points, 11 rebounds (six offensive), three assists and two blocks to the winning cause. Randall Tarrant hit a trio of threes on his way to 15 points while Reggie Curry found success in the paint with 14 points.
Ennis came out firing from distance immediately as Chris Ballard buried a three to open the scoring while Curry followed with a pair of short jumpers. The Cougars hit a couple of threes in the opening quarter, but they couldn’t match the Lions as Hart drilled a three off a Ballard assist and Tarrant did the same off a Hughes assist. Seguin kept pace with the Lions thanks to great success getting to the basket while Tarrant connected from deep again and Jaron Joseph drained Ennis’ fifth three of the quarter for a 21-21 score heading to the second.
“Our threes were good shots,” Chaney said.
“Randall had a good practice and when he’s focused he’s hard to guard. When he hit his first shot, which was a three, I could tell he was on. I told Reggie he could dominate inside and to punch it in when he got down low.
“He did a good job tonight. All Seguin was doing was driving and kicking. We couldn’t stop it in the first half, but they eventually started missing and we held them to one shot.”
Hart opened the second quarter with a pull-up jumper off an offensive rebound while Hughes followed with a block at the other end. Defensive plays began to come more frequently as Curry stole the ball and got it to Hart for a three-point play the old-fashioned way before Curry scored on a put back and hit two more jumpers in the paint.
Seguin was scoring inside at will but couldn’t take control as Hart had a huge block before he assisted Aaron Laza on a wing three for a 37-36 lead with a minute left in the half. Hart followed with his own three-pointer as Ennis took a 40-39 advantage into the locker room.
“Blake needed a game like this to get going again, but of course our opponents are gearing up to stop him specifically,” Chaney said.
“He hit his shots and found other ways to help when he was doubled. It was an excellent game for Blake Hart tonight. Aaron hit a big shot and he’s always good for one [from long range].”
Hughes to Hart for a layup got Ennis going in the third quarter before Hughes scored on a put back and converted a spinning layup. After Curry made a put back, Hart nailed consecutive wing threes on assists by Joseph and Tarrant. Hart would return the favor a couple of times late in the third with assists to Tarrant for a three and a layup as Ennis pulled out to a six-point advantage, 59-53.
“Barry’s rebounding creates a lot of his offense and he takes it to heart when you say that a lot of games are won with rebounding,” Chaney said.
“He’s one of the best rebounders I’ve ever had.”
The fourth quarter became a free throw fest for the most part, but Tarrant delivered a couple of baskets early in the frame with a pull-up jumper and a driving layup. Ennis slowed the Seguin offense as Hart came up with a steal and a block along with steals by Shawn Elliott and Daniel Edwards.
“Randall does a good job of driving to the basket, but he’ll hit the open man with a pass back out if he doesn’t score himself,” Chaney said.
In what was a critical coaching mistake, Seguin received a technical with under three minutes remaining for an illegal substitution as it tried to reduce the deficit. The Lions were not sharp at the charity stripe to say the least late in the action, but Hughes had some big-time offensive rebounds, including a put back and one, in the final moments to put the nail in the collective Cougar coffin.
“I wanted us to attack and get to the line late,” the coach said.
“I wasn’t pleased with our free throw shooting, but we’ll do better. We just made big plays down the stretch and played smart.
“There needs to be a sense of urgency to where our kids treat this as playoff basketball from here on out. We need another vocal crowd next Friday against Red Oak because that support always makes our players feel good.”

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Posted by on Jan 31 2007. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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