WACO – When it was instituted, the three-point shot was tabbed by many as basketball’s great equalizer. At least, it was in Red Oak’s case on Tuesday night.
Behind a 10-of-13 shooting performance in the first half from behind the arc, Bastrop blew past the Hawks at Baylor’s Ferrell Center for an 86-64 bi-district win. The outside shooting caught everyone on the Red Oak side of the court totally off guard.
“We knew they had three guys that could knock down a shot but coach Foster even told us that their coach said they’ve only played like that one other game this season,” senior Casey Hawkins said. “We just hit them on a good night for them, a bad night for us.”
Bastrop finished with 13 three-point makes for the game, missing more attempts in the third period than they did the entire first half.
Red Oak (20-11) appeared poised to play a close game with the Bears early as back-to-back Hawkins buckets trimmed the lead to 15-11 late in the first period. From there, Bastrop went on a 9-0 run to close the period.
The Hawks would respond in the second using a Mandel Dixon layup to cap an 7-0 run and make it a nine-point game at 27-18. That was the last time the game was in single-digits the rest of the night. Bastrop rattled off a 15-0 run from there for a 42-18 lead and led 52-29 at the half.
“On the tape we saw they liked to drive to the hole so we started the game off in the 2-3 (zone) and that’s what we were expecting. They came out shooting 3’s and they hit 10-for-13 in the first half,” senior Brandon Hebert said.
The problem was compounded by Red Oak’s offensive struggles. Brandon Brady, the team’s leading scorer, started slow but finished with a flurry in the second period hitting four jumpers and a free throw just before half. He led the squad with 13 points for the game but only two other players cleared double-figures. Hawkins and Claude Person each had 10.
Of the 64 points scored, 61 were either by two-point shot or free throw. The team’s lone 3-pointer came at the 6:17 mark of the fourth period from an improbable source in 6-foot-6 forward Luke Eubank.
“If we could get some stuff going offensively, keep pounding them inside, take better care of the ball, we could stay close and hang around. Then you hope that they cool off a little and you’ve still got a chance,” Red Oak coach Preston Foster said. “But when they’re hitting so much and we’re struggling to score it’s not a good combination.”
Both players and coaches said afterwards that Bastrop’s coaching staff noted that the team had only had one game with a similar shooting performance all season. The Bears might have three players averaging 15 points per game. The Bears were 164-of-512 from behind the arc coming into the game for a 32 percent average.
In the end, the stats said one thing. The scoreboard said another.
“They shot lights out. We knew they were good shooters but 10 out of 13, that’s hard,” Foster said. “We were trying every defense we could to slow them down. We knew that they could do. They just played really good tonight.”