By GREG WEBB
JUSTIN — It is no secret defensive prowess is a requisite for teams reaching the deeper brackets of the basketball playoffs. The Brock Eagles and Farmersville Farmers won at least a share of district titles by shutting down opponents on a regular basis.
But with a 4-4 score at the end of the first quarter, those in attendance at the Class 2A, Region II Area basketball contest being played out at Northwest High School on Thursday may have been wondering just how modest the final score might be by the end of the night.
The Farmer’s ‘D’ blinked first, giving Brock a 5-point edge at the end of the first half. The Eagles progressively grew more productive on the offensive end, eventually winning the fast-paced contest, 52-34.
Coming out of the halftime locker room, the Eagles’ defense continued to deny Farmersville’s top scorer decent looks. The Farmer’s J’tyus Clark, who spent the season around the 21-point mark per game, was allowed just two points through the first three stanzas, and finished with 10 points, meager by his standards.
As Brock built a cushion before the half, an unsettling factor was the disproportionate number of trips to the foul line. With Brock head coach Jeff Bell sitting a couple of his players due to early infractions, the Farmers enjoyed a 7-1 edge in free throws.
After the break, the Brock defense shut off Farmerville’s faucet, not allowing the District 12 winners any baskets until the 4-minute mark, and led by 28-16.
The Eagles were never seriously threatened by a Farmer’s offense that found little continuity throughout the match.
Brock did most of the damage in keeping the margin as small as it was, getting plenty of stops on defense, but answering by committing uncharacteristic turnovers on the offensive end.
Tre’ Ewell hit the mark enough to tally 18 points, finishing as the game’s high scorer. Lane Southern, who had a good night snatching up lose balls and creating a few, added nine points, as did post Lance Ewell.
But as is usually the case in tight ball games, as well as its runaways this season, the Brock defense was the hero of the night, holding back the Farmers’ offense until Eagles’ hands grew hotter.
The Eagles will play the winner of the Whitney-Leonard match in the regional quarterfinal round, and may have the opportunity to see their next opponent, as the Wildcats and Tigers have their encounter on Friday.