The Alvarado Running Indians played a thrilling game against Midlothian Walnut Grove on Dec. 18, but fell just short of picking up a win in a 64-63 loss.

The first quarter was very tight, with well-balanced offenses and defenses.

Walnut Grove went with a zone defense against the Indians so they had to work to get the ball inside.

“We did a good job of getting the ball down the floor to beat their zone defense,” coach Joe Rodriguez said.

Ronald Thomas, Chance Brown and Jake Glasscock each had four points in the first quarter and Ricky Handy added a 3-point shot. The quarter ended with Alvarado clinging to a 16-14 lead.

“In the second quarter, we threw the ball away at times and Walnut Grove capitalized on our turnovers,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t hit the boards on offense and didn’t block out on defense. We got out of our rhythm.”

Walnut Grove outscored the Indians by two in the quarter as they teams headed into halftime tied at 26-26.

The Indians got off to a rough start in third quarter. Walnut Grove capitalized on Indian turnovers and by the end of the quarter Alvarado trailed 51-38.

“The kids knew what they needed to do to catch up in the fourth quarter,” Rodriguez said.

In the fourth quarter, the Indians got back into their routine and started to play like they practice – running the ball down the floor and putting a lot of pressure on defense.

“Because we came out so aggressive, Walnut Grove started to turn the ball over and we were able to take advantage of it,” Rodriguez said. “We erased the 13-point deficit of the third quarter due to outstanding effort put in by the team.”

The score went back and forth with the Indians up by one then Walnut Grove up by one.

With less then a minute to play the Indians were forced to foul them in order to try to get the ball back. Alvarado got the ball back with less then five seconds left and took a half court shot, which hit the rim, but didn’t go in. Walnut Grove won 64-63.

“The whole team put forth an excellent effort and showed that we can make up for mistakes by playing with intensity and heart,” Rodriguez said. “Only as a team can we have a chance to be successful.”

Ricky Handy led the scoring with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Ronald Thomas added 14 points, Chance Brown 13 points and Tyler Bates 9 points, Jake Glasscock 4 points, Aaron Rodriguez, Ethan Rutter and A.J. Castillo each had 2 points.