SONORA — The Brady Bulldogs faced an uphill battle against the TLCA Eagles last night in Sonora.
It was David versus Goliath, the Rebellion versus the Empire, Average Joe’s Gym versus Globo Gym last night in Sonora, Texas when the fourth seed Brady Bulldogs took on the first seed juggernauts, the TLCA Eagles.
All season long, the Eagles have been making their mark in San Angelo, going from feeling like the red headed stepchild’s rented mule, to one of the top basketball programs in the city. This is a team that took on the Wall Hawks, a typical Wall team, and the 6A San Angelo Central Bobcats this season.
The Bulldogs knew how just how good and how unstoppable the Eagles could be if they started off hot. Brady took this challenge on and headfirst. All the Brady fans knew how tough this matchup was going to be, and the Bulldogs played a near perfect game.
In the opening quarter, points were hard to come by for both teams. TLCA and Brady managed eight points apiece with the Eagles’ A.J. Ramero, Drew Sherrill, and Jaidden Villanuenva putting up points on the board and Joseph Calderon, J.D. Ibarra, and Garrett Everett scoring for the Bulldogs.
Even into the second quarter, both teams scored single digit points. This time, Johnny Menefield, Kaden Bemal, Isreal Morales, and Everett did the damage for Brady and Jelan Johnson and Isaiah Oviedo joined Sherrill and Romero on the score sheet for TLCA.
At halftime, the Brady Bulldogs led 17-16.
If TLCA was going to win, they were going to have to outlast the Bulldogs like they did to the Wall Hawks last Tuesday. In that game, the Hawks came out hyper focused but couldn’t maintain that level of play. Shots stopped falling for them and the Eagles took advantage, stayed the course, and ended up winning.
In the third quarter, Sherrill went off for TLCA, putting up eight points under the basket. Ramero and Johnson sank two three-point shots. Everett did his best work in the third just like Sherrill, adding eight points to the scoreboard.
Disaster struck the Bulldogs at the end of the third quarter when one player was called for a technical foul. The Eagles took the lead 30-27 heading into the fourth quarter and, after the technical, pressure was building. Some teams fall apart after a mistake like that, but not the Bulldogs.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs retook the lead 36-34. After adding two points, Brady then led 38-34 but with less than 30 seconds left, TLCA hit a three-point shot to get within one point.
Needing to foul, the Eagles grabbed a Bulldog before the ball was thrown back in and it was called an intentional. After the free throws, Brady held onto victory 41-37 and sent the Eagles home.
The TLCA Eagles had a tremendous season and the Brady Bulldogs reminded everyone that once you get to the playoffs, anything can happen. The Bulldogs had the perfect plan for the Eagles. It also showed the resolve the Bulldogs have. After drawing a technical, after losing the lead, after halftime, things can fall apart.
The Bulldogs didn’t.
The Brady Bulldogs take on the Vernon Lions in the Area Round.
TLCA— Sherrill- 13, Romero- 9, Villanueva- 8, Johnson- 5, Oviedo- 2
3s- Villanueva- 2, Romero- 1, Johnson- 1
BHS— Everett- 17, Menefield- 8, Morales- 7, Calderon- 5, Ibarra- 4, Bemal- 2
3s- Calderon- 1