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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Odessa College cruises past Midland College in WJCAC opener

Jan. 8—MIDLAND — The Odessa College men's basketball team began conference play on the right note Monday, defeating rivals Midland College 73-52 Monday at the Chaparral Center.

Playing their first game in 2024, the No.13-ranked Wranglers improved to 13-2 overall, 1-0 in WJCAC.

"I thought we played well in the first half," Odessa College head coach Kris Baumann said. "I thought we made some shots. I thought, defensively, we were locked in. this first game back from the break is always a tricky one for both teams. You go home and you have a three-week break and you never know how you're going to come off after the break. Midland College has a heck of a team. I thought we caught them on the right night."

Also playing their first game in the new year, the No. 22 Chaparrals (11-4, 0-1) struggled out of the gate and couldn't get much going.

Odessa College was led by Willie Lightfoot who had 22 points, going 7-16 on field goals, 4-10 on 3-pointers and 4-5 on free throws.

"Willie Lightfoot had a great game," Baumann said. "I was happy with the guys. It was a good team win and to get a win here is tough and to go 1-0 in league play is a big deal."

Esyah Pippa-White had 17 points for the Wranglers, going 5-9 on field goals, 3-6 on 3-pointers and 4-5 on free throws.

Daryl Houston and Brandon Maclin each had 10 points for the Wranglers.

As a team, Odessa College went 26-55 on field goals, 7-21 on 3-pointers and 14-21 on free throws.

Midland College was led by Trey Clarke's 17 points as he went 5-13 on field goals, 1-4 on 3-pointers and 6-9 on free throws.

He was the only Midland College player to score in double-figures.

The Chaparrals went 18-55 on field goals, 4-27 from outside the arc and 12-21 on free throws.

Having lost two of their last three games (which came before the Christmas break), the Wranglers came in with a strong performance.

The Wranglers began the night on an 11-4 run.

The Wranglers soon led 25-11 with 9:55 left in the half.

Odessa College continued its dominance and a layup by Jordan Ray made it 43-19 with 2:36 left on the clock.

A technical foul on Midland College's Leon Williams sent Maclin to the free throw line where he made both shots, extending the Wranglers' lead to 45-19.

Odessa College continued to take advantage of fouls as Pippa-White was sent to the line soon after and he converted both shots late in the first half.

It was 49-22 at the half as a half-court buzzer-beater by Midland College's Bryce Moore was one of the few highlights for the Chaparrals.

A layup by Lightfoot extended the Wranglers' lead at the start of the second half.

The Chaparrals managed to go on an 11-6 run early in the second half.

However, Pippa-White's long-range 3-pointer right at the shot clock buzzer kept the momentum with the Wranglers as they took a 58-33 lead with 13:13 remaining in the game.

A 3-pointer by Clarke cut the Wranglers' lead to 18 with 11:05 to go.

Lightfoot scored another 3-pointer and the Wranglers' lead was 65-44 with 7:51 on the clock.

His teammate Pippa-White converted an outside shot and the Wranglers remained in control of the game

Odessa College will next be at home for a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday against Frank Phillips College at the OC Sports Center.