Tigers playoff hopes take a hit with loss to Mustangs
The Tigers pushed Madisonville to the final buzzer Tuesday night before finally succumbing 69-66 at Tiger Gym.
The loss sinks the Tigers to 11-15 overall and 3-5 in District 18-3A.
With two games remaining in the season, the Tigers trail Taylor (12-15, 4-4) by one game n the district standings for third place.
They are also tied with College Station (20-12, 3-5) for fourth, a team they have split with in district play.
Rockdale travels to Taylor Friday and then hosts league leader and No. 9 Navasota (15-0, 8-0) at home next Tuesday.
“We’ve got a lot to play for and need to put our best foot forward,” said Rockdale Coach Sergio Garcia. “I don’t want to talk about anybody else except who we have in front of us. We’re focused.”
While Madisonville (24-5, 6-2) sprinted to a 44-31 halftime lead (including a 27-point first quarter), the Tigers came out of the locker room and slowly began to chip away at the Mustang lead and outscored them 35-25 in the second half.
As Madisonville missed its first seven shots, Rockdale took the opportunity close the gap between the teams, outscoring the Mustangs 15-4 to open the second half and pull within two, 48-46.
Madisonville regained its shooting touch by the end of the quarter and led 55-48.
With the Mustangs poised to put the game away and leading 59-49 with 7 minutes, 10 seconds left in the final period, the Tigers embarked on a frantic 15-2 run—ignited by a William Dean trey—and grabbed a 64-61 lead with 4:39 showing.
After a Tyler free throw made it 69-64, Dean followed up a shot with six seconds remaining and the comeback was over.
The Mustangs limited Rockdale leading scorer Wendell Mitchell (24.6 ppg) to just 13 points on nine shots.
Dean poured in 18 points to lead the Tigers, while Darius Ford had 12, Pearce Loth 11 and Patric Trejo 10.
Trejo, Loth and Dean all collected seven rebounds.
Tyler led Madisonville with 19.
The Tigers kept hope alive with a convincing 61-48 victory over Caldwell Friday at Tiger Gym.
Rockdale had defeated Caldwell 59-43 in the first round of district.
Mitchell blistered the Hornets for 31 points and feeling it from the outside, pumped in five-ofseven shots from behind the arc and missed just four of 16 shots on the evening.
Ford followed with 13 points and five rebounds.
As a team, the Tigers shot 50 percent from the floor.
Mitchell began his assault by firing in three treys in the first quarter alone and added a fourth in the second quarter to hand Rockdale a 27-13 margin.
Mitchell tallied 18 points by intermission as the Tigers led 32-22.
Both teams had trouble finding the range to open the second half, as the Tigers went four-for-16 from the field and Caldwell misfired on 14-of-19 shots and went four minutes without scoring.
However, nine Tiger turnovers in the period allowed the inaccurate Hornets to stay close, 40-32, heading into the final period.
In a final flurry of scoring, a pair of Caldwell threes sliced the Rockdale lead to 49-42 with 3:42 remaining, but the Tigers outscored Caldwell 12-6 the rest of the way—including an impressive steal and dunk from Mitchell—to secure the win.
“We were so confident coming into the game,” Garcia said. “But, we were flat at times. When you have a team like Caldwell that has nothing to lose, you can’t let them hang around.