— By BRIAN SMITH
BROCK — Springtown came out strong in Friday night’s Class 3A Region I area round matchup with Stephenville. Baskets by senior guard Caleb Brown and sophomore Dawson Meek and a pair of Dylan Ray free throws, all in the first minute, staked the Porcupines to a 6-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the Yellowjackets found their shooting touch soon after, taking the lead about five minutes later, then used a 46 percent shooting night from the floor to prevail in a 71-41 win. Pojo’s season ends with a 15-16 overall record and a 8-2 mark as runner-up in District 6-3A.
Springtown Coach James Rike said he knew Stephenville (13-15) would be fast and aggressive. The Porcupines were hurt by a 26 percent shooting night from the field, going nearly eight minutes at one first half stretch without a point.
“We usually try to score in the 60s, or about 15 points a quarter,” Rike said. “To go eight minutes without a point definitely hurt us.”
Springtown missed 10 shots from the field over the span. Paced by 11 points from Grayson Sweet, the ‘Jackets led by three after one and then started the second on a 10-0 run to take a 23-10 lead.
A Brown free throw with 2:58 remaining in the half snapped the run.
Brown closed with a flourish, adding a three-pointer and another late bucket to bring Pojo within 27-18 at the break. Ray’s three-pointer cut the deficit to six, igniting the Porcupine faithful. It would be as close as Springtown would get, however, as the ‘Jackets went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:30 to begin pulling away.
“We kind of ran out of gas late,” Rike said. “The game was closer than the score would indicate.”
Rike said his squad will be young next year, but with some talent, as the Pojo freshmen won their district title and the junior varsity squad had a good season as well.
“Going into a new district, I think we’ll be in the hunt with Decatur, Bridgeport, Lake Worth and Castleberry,” Rike said.
Brown closed out his high school career by leading Springtown with 20 points. Ray added eight. Sweet paced Stephenville with 22 points.