The Lions would score the last five points of the frame, however, setting up a tremendous finish. Ewell led a balanced attack with 13 points for Brock. Chase Harris paced Ponder with 16 tallies.
Brock 62, Life Red Oak 54
Brock earned the right to advance to the round of eight by pulling away in the final minute Friday night.
A pair of Scott Muirhead free throws had cut the Brock lead to 56-54. The Mustangs (27-8) fouled and Cockburn buried 1-2 free throws to extend the lead to three. The Eagles defense clamped down in the final seconds, forcing Life Red Oak to miss its final four shots from the field.
A Ewell dunk and Thornton layin late sealed the deal.
After the Mustangs had taken a 39-37 lead heading into the fourth, Ewell, who had all of his team-high 13 points in the second half, tied the game at 39 on the first possession. Brock used a pair of Cockburn free throws and a bucket and a Ewell basket for a 7-0 run midquarter to break a 41-all deadlock.
The Mustangs wouldn’t go away, using a 9-0 run to go up 50-48. Junior guard Hayden James helped Brock begin pulling away with his second three-pointer of the game and a bucket, extending the lead to 56-52 with 54 seconds to go.
“The kids showed some poise down the stretch when we needed it,” Boxell said. ““We protected the basketball and attacked the basket to help pull away.”
The Eagles had trouble getting the offense going in the early moments, needing nearly three minutes to get on the board via a James trey. It was the start of a 9-0 run with Cockburn and Harris Jowell contributing baskets. Brock’s defense forced eight straight missed shots by the Mustangs, who were down 11-6 after one.
Life Red Oak would get within 15-14 midway through the second but would not score again. Brock took advantage, using buckets by Cockburn, Thornton and McPherson to take a 21-14 halftime lead.
Cockburn added 13 points for the Eagles with James and Thornton tossing in 12 each in a balanced attack. Karrey Sanders and Jeremy Reese each had 14 for Life Red Oak.