Late Block Party Books Eden's Ticket to First Regional Tourney Since 1999
SAN ANGELO, TX -- A trio of blocks late in the fourth quarter sealed a 46-41 win for the Eden Bulldogs and clinched their first regional tournament berth since 1999.
“It means everything,” head coach Travis Nicks said with a grin and a long pause. “It’s cool. It means everything to the community, these kids, the administration. It’s awesome.”
Sophomore post Hunner Rogers picked up all three blocks in that fourth quarter. What made that more impressive is that the 6-5 sophomore was battling foul trouble throughout the game.
“That’s huge … He had four fouls,” Nicks said. “He was trying to stay in the game and still made those blocks. They were obviously huge.”
Entering the fourth quarter, Robert Lee trailed by nine points. Robert Lee’s Daniel Mendoza then sparked a 7-3 run with 5 minutes, 9 seconds left in the game to cut the deficit to 43-41 3:16. Rogers ended that run and started his block party. From there, Robert Lee failed to score another basket.
“It sent all the momentum our way and we kept rolling,” Rogers said.
Gaining momentum was hard early on for both teams. Eden and Robert Lee combined for just five field goals in the first quarter as Eden held a narrow 8-6 lead entering the second quarter.
Eden finally picked up momentum in the second quarter, going on a 7-0 run to jump ahead 15-6 with 5:36 left in the half.
Nathan Scates sparked Robert Lee’s rebuttal, a 9-0 run, to tie the game at 15 midway through the second. Eden’s Austin Moya capped off a 9-4 run with a three-pointer that gave the Bulldogs a 24-19 lead entering halftime.
The Steers cut the deficit to 24-23 early in the third quarter. Eden responded by closing out the quarter on a 12-4 run to take a 36-27 lead into the final period.
On the night, Rogers finished with four blocks and a team-high 17 points. Anthony Moya was the only other Bulldog in double figures with 10 points.
Scates finished with a team-high 14 points for Robert Lee. Julian Gamboa was the second highest scorer with seven points.
Eden will face Jayton this Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Abilene Christian University’s Moody Coliseum in the Class 2A region II tournament.