The Hornets Fall to Benjamin in Defensive Slugfest


SNYDER, TX — The Irion County Hornets fought a defensive slugfest against the Benjamin Mustangs in the 1A Region II Regional Semifinal in Snyder on Friday. In a game where the biggest lead of either team was six points while it mattered, the Mustangs proved too strong defensively in the end. Irion County’s season ends for the second year in a row against Benjamin, 41-35.

San Angelo LIVE!'s Ryan Chadwick was at the game in Snyder on Friday. Here's his postgame analysis and game highlights:

The Hornets jumped out to a hot start in the first quarter. After Irion County surrendered a three-point shot, the Hornets recovered to outscore the Mustangs11-8 after the first frame. Neither team gave much ground before halftime, but the Mustangs crept closer. Irion County led 21-20 at the break. 

Grayson Rigdon broke out for the Mustangs in the second half. Right out of the locker room, Benjamin went on a 7-0 run to take a 27-21 lead before the Hornets knew what hit them. Irion County battled back to narrow that advantage to three points at the end of the third frame. 

Irion County Hornets

Irion County Hornets

(San Angelo LIVE! Photo/Ryan Chadwick)

Benjamin transitioned into a time-wasting offense in the fourth quarter that almost came back to bite them. The Hornets endured the long defensive possessions that came up empty for the Mustangs and eventually took a 35-34 lead with less than five minutes to play. Unfortunately for Irion County, the shots stopped falling there. The Hornets had several open looks to either tie the game or take the lead down the stretch but could not get the ball in the hoop.

Benard Xhemshiti led the Hornets with 13 points. Tyler Henderson followed close behind with 8 points, Kron Xhemejli and Iryan Davis had six points, and Wyatt Morris added a basket during the 3rd quarter for two points.

Benjamin secured the defensive battle in the end, 41-35. The Mustangs await the winner of the Robert Lee Steers and the Eula Pirates for the Regional Championship on Saturday.

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