MILDRED, Texas — More than 15 points each from Tanir Horton and Brandon Wright, as well as one of the best defensive efforts of late, earned the Panthers their first District 17-3A victory.
Maypearl beat Mildred High School's Eagles 64-41 Friday at Mildred High School Gymnasium and shook off the after effects of a disappointing district opener.
"It always feels good to get that first district win and stop that two-game losing streak," said Sam Riepe, the head basketball coach at Maypearl High School. "The defense was the big thing. That's something we preached about after the loss on Tuesday. They did a good job of packing the paint and forcing their offense to the perimeter where tough defenders like Tanir, Tyriq (Massey) and Brandon are waiting to create turnovers and cause chaos to their offensive scheme."
The (11-6, 1-1) Panthers scored 64 points — the fourth-highest total in the last seven games — behind 20 points from Horton and 19 from Wright. With the help of their defense, they also held an opponent to its lowest output since the decisive 57-27 win against Glen Rose High School on Dec. 9.
Thirty-four of those points came during the final 16 minutes of the game.
It wasn't only Horton and Wright's scoring punch that guided Maypearl to its 11th win, though. Junior Jake Wiggins (9 pts), Massey, (7 pts) and sophomore Carson McManus (4 pts) combined for 20 — roughly 31 percent — of the Panthers' final total.
Riepe said his team's performance — specifically on the defensive end of the basketball court — was a needed step forward given their matchups with Keene and Grandview High Schools through the next week.
Maypearl was scheduled to play the second of back-to-back games on 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Maypearl High School Gymnasium against Keene, after press time. The district matchup was a makeup for the earlier game canceled because of mumps.
Riepe said he had an added advantage that their opponent didn't — sitting his starters and giving them rest for the district battles to come.
"I think the win gave us confidence in what we can do as a team. Playing good defense will only enhance that belief," Riepe said. "It also was good that I got a chance to sit my starters because that's something they didn't get a chance to do. I think that, as well as them coming off of having the mumps and some of their kids being under the weather will play to our advantage. We still have to do the work because they are still a talented team. They have shooters and one facilitator that can get into the lane."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusMarionWNI.