In a back-and-forth game all night, The Colony's boys basketball team came up just short of knocking down the top dog in District 8-5A.
After taking a 10-point halftime lead, the Cougars (23-8, 6-4) watched their double-digit advantage dissipate by dropping a 40-39 contest to first-place Denton Braswell (24-9, 10-1) on Tuesday, snapping its five-game winning streak against a Bengals bunch that sealed an outright district crown.
“The kids played well,” said Cleve Ryan, The Colony head coach. “We had some opportunities to take the lead or win it, not even just at the end of the game, but to just hold on. Whether it was a turnover here or them hitting a few shots, things like that. Just a good, tough game.”
During a dominant second quarter, The Colony was able to snatch a sizable lead and gain some traction going into the second half versus the No. 1 team in 8-5A. But Braswell allowed a total of just 12 points in the final two quarters – seven in the third and five in the fourth – compared to 23 points of its own behind a stingy effort out of the zone that created trouble.
The Colony missed all nine of its 3-pointers in the second half after making 6 of 14 in the first half, including a last-ditch 3 in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter before an offensive rebound at the buzzer did not fall through.
“A lot of times playing against people with a zone, it can get a little stagnant, a little impatient,” Ryan said. “That’s what a zone does sometimes. It gets you out of a rhythm.”
Ahead of the second half, The Colony took control for a while and was picking its way through the stifling zone defense.
The Cougars outscored Braswell 17-6 in the second quarter to take the 27-17 lead going into the locker room, converting 3-of-6 attempts at the 3-point line while forcing Braswell into an 0-of-5 mark beyond the arc during that span.
“Against their zone, a lot of times it makes you slow down and think a little bit,” Ryan said. “I think we just kind of played, found some open spots. A lot of a good things happened for us, too, going inside out. Those were the shots we were hitting.”
Senior Keith Miller was one of the players that keyed that second-quarter run. The Colorado wide receiver signee showed just why he is heading to the next level on the gridiron, feasting his way to nine points during that eight-minute stretch and hitting a 3 at the buzzer to give his team a 27-17 lead.
Miller ended up with a team-high 11 points in the defeat, scoring eight of those in a dominant display near the rim next to his one basket outside.
“He’s played well for us all year,” Ryan said. “Good things usually happen when he’s in there – catching the ball, dishing it out or scoring.”
Behind Miller were juniors Tay Mosher and Caden Sclafani, who helped key the early advantage for the Cougars. Sclafani finished with nine points – all of which came at the 3-point line – while Mosher added eight points and a triple.
“Those are two of our better shooters, especially when they get inside-out 3s,” Ryan said. “Those guys usually knock them down.”
The Colony looks to bounce back with a 7 p.m. home tilt Friday versus Little Elm, who was 5-4 in district play and sitting in third place in the standings entering Tuesday night. The Colony earned a 60-55 win in the last meeting.
“We’ve just got to let it sink in tonight and then we’ve got a big one on Friday,” Ryan said. “We’ll prepare for that one and then go from there. Not much time to relax or worry about things.”