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Dec, 2019

4th Qrtr Propels Leander

(By: Antonio G. Castillo)

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Pflugerville, TX-

Early on, and for the majority of three quarters, the Hendrickson Hawks led Leander and even started red hot, with a 12-0 sprint out of the gates. The turning point in Friday night's game without question, was the fourth period, and the Lions would use a staunch defensive effort, to outscore Hendrickson, 45-27, the rest of the game, and pull out the win.

Entering the 4th quarter, the Lions trailed 33-28 and had been able to withstand a couple of offensive spurts by the Hawks, to be within striking distance. Zach Meyer would get the scoring going with a point blank bucket, then followed by Noah Robledo flying in for an offensive tip in transition, and then Brandon Puckett would also hit the offensive board, and put back, to put Leander in front, 34-33, with 4:57 to play.

Junior point guard, Jaden Williams, the catalyst for Hendrickson would see a defensive blanket all game long, but he was able to get a free throw line jumper to bounce in and tie the game up at 37 all, to counter for the Hawks. From that point on, Leander would close the game on an 8-2 run, and secure the 45-39, district win.

"We talked about this. Obviously we were concerned about the offensive end, but our biggest thing was we gotta get stops. We had a bad first quarter where we let them get some run outs and easy three's. We had to fight uphill and the second half we dug in. After we went down 12-0, we ended up outscoring them 45-27, somewhere around there. Heck of a job by our guys. Very proud of them," said Leander Head Coach Clint Braldey.

The Lions defense keyed on not letting Williams penetrate freely, clogging the lanes and collapsing, keeping him in check with only 8 points, and limited opportunities to find open teammates. It was a concerted effort that Leander was keying on him, and with Williams nullified, it gave the Lions their opportunity to take advantage.

"The biggest thing what we felt, was their point guard (Jaden Williams), he's a heck of a player. You can't let him create, he makes everybody on the floor better for them and so that was the biggest thing for us. Don't let him make big plays. Make other people make big plays and we were fortunate that they didn't in the fourth quarter," said Bradley.

As a team, Leander shutdown Hendrickson, and held them to only 6 points for the entire 4th period. As the game went on, the defensive intensity seemed to ratchet up for the Lions, and it's the reason they were right there in the end.

Offensively, junior Noah Robledo, one of the top 2021 prospects in the Texas Tri-Regions, a 6'6" wing, led the Lions with 14pts (unofficially). He showed good range, connecting on two treys, and a slashing ability in able to get by the defender and attack off the bounce. If he didn't' finish at the rim, he would draw contact and sink his free throws.

In the loss, James "Deuce" Hester was the high man for the Hawks, finishing with 11pts and 5rebs unofficially.