Antlers hold off Champion in 50-46 thriller - Sports

Antlers hold off Champion in 50-46 thriller

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 10:00 pm

Tivy weathered Boerne Champion 50-46 on Tuesday and epitomized total team effort to move to 4-0 in the District 26-5A boys’ basketball chase, sending the Chargers to their first loop loss before fired up fans at Antler Gym.

A speed bump showed up in the second quarter when Abraham Viera had to sit the entire period due to two early fouls sustained in the opening eight minutes. Viera scored seven of Tivy’s points in the first quarter and, along with Jackson Young, had the Antlers within striking distance after the opening salvo although the Charger led 16-15.

Viera eventually finished the game with 15 points and Young supplied 19, with 15 of those coming from three-point range.

With one-half of its usual scoring tandem sidelined, however, the Antlers reached into their bag of grit, which included outstanding defensive efforts from John Henry Hayes, Christian Gorham, Demetrius Cubbage, Young, Caleb Fineske, Will Johnston, and Niko Nieto.

The group limited Champion to just three points and provided enough offensive power with 11 points to move the Antlers in front 25-19 at halftime.

“Everyone was stepping up. It was a huge effort, where everyone contributed in big ways with rest minutes, defensive stops or points. It’s a rivalry game and we fought hard and Champion fought hard,” said Tivy head coach Brian Young.

Gorham had six points to go along with some timely rebounds. Hayes scored four and scrapped on defense during some extensive minutes. Johnston recorded four points and eventually turned off Champion’s three-point barrage late in the fourth quarter after Champion climbed to within 44-42 with 3:20 to play. Cubbage added two points.

Fineske and Nieto were perfect foils against Champion’s ball handling and helped force three key turnovers by the Chargers in the second stanza.

Viera re-entered the game in the third quarter and despite two fouls he was fearless in the paint, where he drew a pair of charging fouls against the Chargers. He was only whistled for an infraction once more over the final two quarters.

“Abraham is a team player just like everyone,” said coach Young

Champion bombed away with four treys during a three-minute stretch of the final frame, outscoring Tivy 12-4 in that time span.

“But when we switched Will to matchup on Champion’s best three-point shooter, Will’s size was too much,” said coach Young.

Champion managed to trail only 46-45 with 39 ticks on the game clock, but Johnston and Viera sank four free throws to ice the game and give Tivy win number 16 overall.

The Antlers are on the road to San Antonio on Friday, where they will take on Harlandale at 6:30 p.m.

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