HORN BOYS BASKETBALL SEAN MONING

Sean Moning scored nine points and Horn led late in the game, but Naaman Forest was able to pull out a 41-39 victory in a Class 6A bi-district playoff game at Forney High School.

Horn was poised to complete one of its biggest comebacks in its playoffs history on Monday.

The Jaguars had clawed their way out of a 13-point first-half deficit and led late in the fourth quarter.

But Naaman Forest had some late-game magic of its own.

After a frantic scene during the final seconds, the Rangers’ Autavius Hobbs made a steal and was fouled going to the basket with 2.1 seconds left.

The junior, who has hit a number of big shots this season, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a key win over Sachse, calmly drained two free throws and Horn was unable to get off a last-second try at a miracle as Naaman Forest held on for a 41-39 victory in a Class 6A bi-district playoff game at Forney High School.

The Rangers (18-8) advance to the area finals where they face the winner of Tuesday’s game between Killeen Ellison and Cedar Hill, while the Jaguars finish the season with a 13-14 record.

Horn cut a 13-point deficit to seven at halftime and quickly erased the rest in the early stages of the third quarter with a quick 7-0 run. Xai Koinyang hit a pair of free throws, Bryson Smith knocked down a 3-pointer and Sean Moning got inside for a score and it was suddenly tied at 25-25.

The largest lead for either team for the final 14 minutes was four points, as neither let the other out of its sights.

Naaman Forest inched out to a 31-28 advantage after a layup from Devean Deal and a jumper by Justin Whitmore, who led all scorers with 13 points.

But Moning, who paced Horn with nine, converted back-to-back layups to give them a 32-31 lead at the end of three quarters, and then drained a trey to give them their largest lead of the game at 35-31 early in the fourth.

Points were hard to come by all game and that intensified down the stretch.

Drealyn Mosley had a layup and a free throw to bring the Rangers back to within a point, but Koinyang pushed it back to 37-34 with a midrange jumper.

It remained close, but Horn led 39-36 after Smith fed Tsepo Williams for a layup with 2:30 left.

The Rangers again cut it to one when Deal converted a putback after a missed free throw, and after each team had its chances, a free throw by Whitmore tied it at 39-39 with 40 seconds left.

Each team had a crack in the final seconds, but it was Hobbs who got the final opportunity and he cashed it in for the win.

Horn led 6-4 early after baskets from Smith, Williams and Nathan Lee, but they would then go more than eight minutes without a field goal.

The Rangers took advantage of the drought, as Daylen Webb and Brendon Mason knocked down 3-pointers and Whitmore added a jumper to give them a 13-6 lead at the end of one quarter.

Though the Jaguars did get a pair of free throws from Williams, Webb drained his second trey and Whitmore and Webb converted putbacks to cap a 17-2 run that gave them a 21-8 lead.

Horn finally broke the drought courtesy of a jumper from Juwan Lewis and they turned up the pressure on the defensive end, which helped lead to better looks on offense.

Koinyang scored inside and Lewis continued to provide a big spark, scoring all eight of his points as part of a 10-2 run that helped the Jaguars close to within 25-18 at halftime.

That momentum carried over into the third quarter, where Horn continued the charge to pull even, and while the teams traded punches from there, it was Naaman Forest who had the final say.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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