STANTON, TX — In a game filled with energy and intensity, the Central Bobcats squared off with the Midland High Bulldogs for the final spot in the playoffs. Midland came off a 75-53 thumping by Odessa Permian on Friday night but looked ready to play on Saturday.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first quarter before four minutes even elapsed. Turnovers plagued the 'Cats at the beginning of the period, and they fell behind. Midway through the first quarter, Central's defense caught fire and sent Midland reeling. The Bobcats battled back to within three and trailed 14-11 at the end of the first.
The previous run continued well into the second as the Bobcats took the lead and led by as much as seven. The Bobcats scored quickly on their end of the floor, but Midland High battled back with 3-point shots. With less than two minutes to go, the Bulldogs went on a 9-4 run to pull within three points. The 'Cats led at the break, 33-30.
Central started the second half, much like the first. Shots would not fall, and the Bulldogs took back the lead early in the quarter. The Bobcats also found themselves in early foul trouble, and the Bulldogs scored most of their points at the line. Midland High led by as much as eight points before the 'Cats finally battled back. At the end of the third, Central trailed 50-45.
Central's defense came to the forefront in the fourth quarter. Squeaky English had several steals that turned into easy points on the other end. English also led the Bobcats in scoring in the quarter. He made two three-point shots, several baskets inside, and went 7-8 from the free throw line. Once the Bobcats pulled ahead, they did not look back. The final buzzer sounded, and the 'Cats claimed victory 71-63.
Squeaky English led the Bobcats with 30 points. A season high for English. The will and tenacity he showed in this game after the 'Cats lost three in a row are commendable. Jaedyn Gipson followed with 16 points, and Kollin Allbright added 14 points.
Head Coach CJ Villegas talked about his team's effort after the game.
Central now enters the playoffs as the 4th seed. What this means is that they play the winner of another district. The Bobcats have a difficult road ahead but can make a playoff run. Central plays El Paso Eastwood in the first round of the playoffs, but the date, time, and location are still to be determined.
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