LITTLE ELM — Both the Braswell Bengals and Lady Bengals recorded district wins Tuesday, defending their home court with the girls pushing late to defeat Wichita Falls 45-36 and the boys surviving the Coyotes 68-62 despite being outscored 43-33 in the second half.
The Lady Bengals came out flat in the first half, scoring 17 points, but eventually got things going when Aminah Hall started to get into a rhythm. Hall buried a 3-pointer to begin the second half. From that point on, she barely missed. Hall converted four of her next five attempts for 10 points. She finished tied for the team lead in points with 14.
Braswell's Tiarah Starks added 14 points, followed by Lezyria Wilson's six.
"I got into a rhythm and it felt great," Hall said. "I struggled in the first half, but we started to move the ball around the perimeter really well. I found some spots and hit a few shots."
Her coach knew the team needed a spark and Hall was it.
"The first half was pitiful for both teams offensively," Braswell coach Paige Trujillo said. "We feed off of Aminah's energy. When she hit her last 3-pointer and fist-pumped, our girls started to step up their game."
With 2:15 left, the Lady Bengals held a narrow six-point lead. Hall buried her final trey to give her team a convincing lead it would keep.
Braswell 68, Wichita Falls 62
The Bengals looked poised early in the second half when they extended their 16-point halftime lead to 20, but the Coyotes didn't give up.
Braswell's low post player Matthew Edwards had four fouls in the first half, forcing coach Nick Sekeres to start freshman Jaylon Banks in the second half. Banks stepped up, pouring in eight points with three assists.
The Bengals had three players score in double figures. MJ Leslie led Braswell with 17 points and was followed by David Robinson with 12.
"Jaylon played a big role for us in the second half," Sekeres said. "He didn't skip a beat when Matthew got into some early foul trouble, and it was encouraging to see him find guys for a few open shots. He's young, but he played great."
The Coyotes began to use their size down low to create space on the outside for perimeter shooters Kobe Graham and Austin Dishman. The duo combined for 34 points, converting 11 3-pointers. Dishman drilled a 3-pointer to give the Coyotes their first lead with 3:55 left. His trey capped a 13-1 run to begin the fourth.
"We had a big lead, and then we didn't," Sekeres said with a laugh. "After a great second quarter, to come out flat and still get a win is a testament to what our team did late in the game."
The Coyotes simply ran out of time and were forced to foul the Bengals. Sophomore Robinson sank five of his six attempts from the charity stripe to secure Brawell's first district victory.
District action continues for the Bengals when they host Denison on Friday.
JIMMY ISBELL can be reached at 817-781-03789 and via Twitter at @JimmyIsbell12.
Braswell 45, Wichita Falls 36
Braswell (10-10, 2-1) - Sydney Tyler 2, Kamryn Gibson 5, Lezyria Wilson 6, Tiarah Starks 14, Aminah Hall 14, Achlie Brown 4.
Wichita Falls - Brown 2, Davis 2, Singleton 3, Garrett 1, Mediano 3, Sanders 14, Jackson 11.
Braswell 68, Wichita Falls 62
Braswell (13-10, 1-1) - Kiran Anderson 8, David Robinson 12, MJ Leslie 17, Mark Kunz 3, Kameron Fricks 2, Brandon Barlow 11, Jaylon Banks 8, Matthew Edwards 7.
Wichita Falls -- Dishman 24, Simmons 2, Murdock 1, Graham 10, Nino 17, Barry 8.