Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hornets top Gators in playoffs, 62-47


For the first time in 10 years, Gatesville High School will add a gold basketball to the trophy case.

Behind 26 points from Tyler Shea, 14 points from Banner Allman, and an inspired all-around performance from Rayshon Smith, the Hornets took down Georgetown Gateway Prep 62-47 in Temple on Tuesday for their first playoff win since February of 2013. They will now move on to the area round of the playoffs to face Houston Washington, the state’s No. 3-ranked Class 4A team.

“I am just so extremely proud of these guys and the fact that we are bi-district champs,” GHS head coach Brit Campbell said.

The Hornets led for almost the entirety of the game but were not able to pull away until the second half.

A slow start found the Hornets down 6-2 and 8-5 in the first quarter before they found their footing. Campbell noted that the environment may have contributed to the uneven start.

“We were excited and the atmosphere was definitely elevated and we let that get us a little bit to sped-up early on,” Campbell said.

A putback from Shea cut the Gator lead to 8-7. Smith then ripped off seven straight points to give the Hornets a lead they would not surrender. The junior guard scored on a layup, drew a charge on Gateway’s Asher Eddins, converted a three-point play, then capped the run with another layup to make it a 14-8 lead.

Banner Allman opened the game with a layup but Smith and Shea scored the Hornets’ remaining 12 points of the quarter.

“I thought those two stepped up and had a great game for sure. Tyler had a good inside presence on both ends, and I thought Rayshon was aggressive on offense,” Campbell said. “He also had some huge stops with the charges he took. Both guys had some plays that got us going and gave us some positive momentum.”

In the second quarter, the Gators cut the lead to 14-12, but a 12-2 run – capped by layups from Carter Williams and Shea – gave Gatesville its biggest lead of the first half, 26-14.

Six straight points from Gator guard Gavin Ndubisi made it 26-20, but a West Allman three-pointer stopped the bleeding and pushed the lead back to 29-20. The Hornets led 31-24 at halftime.

The second half began and essentially ended with punctuation marks from Shea. In between the Hornets fended off repeated Gateway comeback attempts with runs of their own thanks to timely defensive stops and buckets from five different players.

The Hornets opened the second half with an alley-oop dunk from Trae Miller to Shea to stretch the lead to 33-24, but four points from Ndubisi and a three-pointer from Eddins made it 33-31.

Gatesville countered with six straight points from Banner Allman – the Hornets’ leading scorer this season. The senior guard scored on a three-point play then buried a corner three-pointer to quickly extend the lead to eight, at 39-31. Back-to-back layups from Shea and Kase Cox pushed the lead to 43-31.

Gateway cut the lead to single digits when a three-pointer from Westin Hartness made it 48-39, but a steal by Shea and layup from West Allman made it 50-39 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, the Gators were able to get as close as nine points again when a three-pointer from Eddins made it 56-47 but on their next possession, Miller drew a charge on Eddins. Gatesville countered with a layup from Banner Allman on the next possession to make it 58-47 and the Gators would not threaten again.

The win was punctuated by a three-point play from Shea with 1:37 to play that embodied the Hornets’ defensive efforts in the second half. The senior forward batted away an errant pass and dived for the loose ball. As Ndubisi attempted to make a save for the Gators, Shea snagged the ball, dunked, drew a foul, and sealed the Hornets’ victory. 

“In the second half we picked up the pressure and that gave us some momentum and we also got out in transition well,” Campbell said.

Shea led all scorers with 26 points while Banner Allman had 14. Shea passed the 1,000-point mark for his GHS career in the first quarter and Allman needs 13 points to set a single-season scoring record for the Hornets. The record of 656 was set in 2009 and Allman currently has 644.

The Hornets, ranked No. 23 in the most recent Max Preps rankings, faced Washington — No. 4 in the TABC rankings and No. 5 in the Max Preps rankings — on Friday. A win would mean a trip for the Hornets to the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 and a matchup against the winner of the area round game between Houston Yates and Waco La Vega.