Lady Tigers prevail on homecoming, Tigers fall to Slocum

Jan. 17—NECHES — The Neches Tigers and Lady Tigers celebrated homecoming Friday night, with the two teams splitting their contests with the Slocum Mustangs and Lady Mustangs.

The Lady Tigers survived a ferocious comeback attempt from the Lady Mustangs, winning a nail-biter, 53-44. Neches would get off to a hot start in the two periods, taking a 35-11 lead into halftime on the strength of junior shooting guard Joely Jenkins, who shot 4-4 from the three-point line in the half.

The Lady Mustangs would come roaring back in the second half, out scoring the Lady Tigers by nine points in the third quarter, and six points in the fourth. Audrey Leuschner would drain three three's in the second half, going a perfect 3-3 from range for the night.

Ultimately the Lady Tigers were able to gut out the victory for the large homecoming crowd, with Jenkins and senior Aubrey Kincaid taking second and first in the scoring column, with 15 and 17 points respectively. Lexi Bennett led the Lady Mustangs with 12.

The night did not end in the favor of the Tiger faithful, as the Mustangs played spoiler for the homecoming fun in the boys game, winning 53-43.

The Mustangs frustrated the Tigers from first tip, occupying passing lanes and forcing the Tigers out of rhythm of offense. On the offensive side, sophomore guard Carter Sbrusch was a man on a mission, risking life and limb to drive into the meat of the Neches defense, and successfully finished several heavily contested layups, scoring 17 for his winning Mustangs.

Neches, like the Lady Mustangs in the previous game, made it very interesting in the end, coming all the way back to tie the game at 41-41 with less than four minutes remaining on the clock. The Tigers would get a few clean looks at the basket in the final minutes, but could not convert on their shots. The Mustangs would take advantage, making two of their last three shots before Sbrusch iced the game by converting three of four free throws in the finals 90 seconds.

Neches will be back in action this week after being locked in over the weekend, as we all were, due to the blast of winter weather we received. Both teams will be playing at home Friday, Jan. 19 with the girls set to tip at 5 p.m. against Dodd City, and the boys to follow at 6:30 p.m against Centerville.

The Mustangs and Lady Mustangs will also be at home Friday night, as they welcome in Martinsville for a district matchup. The girls will start at 6 p.m., with the boys set to start at 7:30 p.m.