A point of contention

Tigers drop first two district games by a total of two points Cagers play at home for first time in 42 days
BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor


Point guard Ethan Brinkley cuts to the basket for a bucket in the Tigers’ loss to Giddings. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Point guard Ethan Brinkley cuts to the basket for a bucket in the Tigers’ loss to Giddings. Reporter/Cliff Dungan After being on the road for the better part of six weeks, the Rockdale Tigers were hoping for friendly confines when they finally made it back to Tiger Gymnasium.

Whattheygotwasarude homecoming.

A disastrous third quarter resulted in a 52-51 loss to Giddings Tuesday night in a District 23-3A battle.

The Tigers, 7-9 overall, quickly find themselves in an 0-2 district hole.

Giddings improves to 10-11 and 1-1.

Pre-game player introductions were definitely in order as the Tigers were playing at home for the first time in 42 days (Dec. 7).

The home cooking seemed to agree with them as they enjoyed a 28-19 lead at intermission thanks to some crisp passing that resulted in point blank shots.

However, a disastrous third quarter buried the Tigers in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.

The Buffaloes stampeded out of the locker room after the break and quickly moved within two points after a 7-0 streak to open the period.

By the end of the quar ter, Giddings had commandeered the lead 37-33 after outscoring the Tigers 18-5, which included a nine-point f lurry to end the period.

In the pivotal period, Rockdale was two-for-eight from the floor and turned the ball over five times.

The Tigers had just 14 turnovers on the evening, but Giddings was able to turn each one into a positive.

Giddings maintained its lead throughout the final period as the Tigers stayed close and got within one on three occasions, but could not pull even.

With the Buffaloes ahead 51- 45, Ethan Brinkley nailed a three pointer from the left side to make it 51-48 with 52 seconds remaining to be played.

After a Brooks Marlow free throw, Cody Skubal drove the baseline to make it 52-50 with 20 seconds left after the Tigers ran off 30 seconds trying to create a shot.

Rockdale got a break when Skubal stripped the ball from Ethan Wachsmann at mid court with 15 seconds left and Brinkley was fouled with 2.7 seconds on the clock.

Brinkley converted one of two shots which made the final 52- 51.

Skubal tossed in 21 points on eight-of-11 shooting, including 11 in the second half.

The 6-foot-3 junior also snared eight rebounds and passed off for two assists.

William Dean added 10 points and six rebounds.

Giddings’ 6-foot- 5 postman Mason Becker collected 20 points and 12 boards.

LaGrange

With all but two players on the roster experiencing their first district contest, the Tigers almost stole a road victory in the loop opener, before falling in double overtime 59-58.

“We played very tight the first half—only 14 points—but we had many, many, many good looks at the basket,” said Loewe. “In the second half we came out with a lot more intensity on defense and outscored them.”

Only Skubal and J.J. Lewis had seen action in a district game before and very limited at that.

The Tigers had the lead several times in the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over three times in the last minute of regulation.

Down by two, Juan Salazar missed a three-pointer with four seconds left to win the game, however Skubal fought for the offensive rebound and was fouled on the put back with .3 of a second on the clock.

The junior calmly converted both free shots to force overtime.

Rockdale grabbed the lead in the first overtime, but fouls on Skubal and James David put them on the bench w ith five each.

The Tigers had the lead with 30 seconds to go in the overtime, but LaGrange (8- 9, 1- 0) took advantage of a pair of turnovers to knot the game again and send it to a second extra period.

The Leopards outscored the Tigers 10-9 in the second overtime to secure the 59-58 win.

“ We hung close in the second overtime but just couldn’t finish at the bucket and they out rebounded us badly,” Loewe said.

Rockdale struggled from the floor, making just 33 percent of its shots with the Tigers’ top four scorers going 13-for-48.

They were also three- of-20 from behind the three-point arc.

“The intensity level in district is much greater than in nondistrict ball games. I thought we had a good chance to steal a road victory.”

Skubal, Brinkley and Dean each delivered 12 points, while James David ripped down nine rebounds.

TIGER TRACKS—The Tigers are being forced to play without their two postmen 6-foot-6 Le’Raven Clark and 6- foot- 3 Derek David who are both academically ineligible... Sign of the times? The best shooting free throw teams in District 23-3A shoot just 57 percent from the free throw line. That distinction belongs to LaGrange and Caldwell. Rockdale brings up the rear at 51.


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