The Leander Lions shook the court with a win tonight against the Vista Ridge Rangers. With seconds remaining in the game, Junior Chase Cotton had a clutch dunk to put the Lions up 46-45, and the gym erupted in chaos and cheers.
“Not much was going through my head at that moment,” Cotton said. “I just reacted. The crowd made me feel great, I felt pumped. We had to keep the lead and the game wasn’t over yet.”
The Lions were behind nearly the entire game up until the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Cotton led the team in points with 16 points total in the game. Senior David Bonner scored 10, and junior Kobe Thompson scored eight points.
“We have a lot of guys with a lot of heart, and we just want to come out here, and do the best that we can, and we came out on top,” Bonner said.
In the first quarter, defensive play ruled the court, as both teams didn’t reach double-digit scores. Vista Ridge led 9-8. Senior Nashua Brooks and junior Brandon Taylor were leaders for the Rangers while juniors J.P. Stevens and Kristian Murphy both scored three points for the Lions.
In the second, and third quarter, Cotton emerged as a force for Leander. But the Rangers, led by senior Mekhi Burgess, lit up on every offensive possession.
“They’re resilient,” Leander coach Clint Bradley said. “This group has come a long way. We got six returning varsity players, who’ve got a lot of experience, and so they know that regardless of the score, and regardless of the time that they are going to keep fighting, and keep fighting through.”
It was the fourth quarter that the Lions shot ahead with their offense, scoring 17 points in total in the final quarter. With five points, and a game winning dunk and free throw, Cotton wore down the high ranked Rangers. Bonner, Stevens, Murphy and Thompson all contributed in the final quarter putting together 12 points total.
Next, the Lions will travel to Dripping Springs to face off against the Tigers on Friday.
“We going to continue to enjoy the victory tonight, but tomorrow, we talked to our guys about having a semi-short memory with this,” Bradley said.
“We’re not going to stop. We’re going to take it all the way to the playoffs,” Bonner said.
Jack Densmore is a senior at Leander High School participating in the Texas Top 100 Academy for Young Writers program. He also serves as the editor-in-chief for the LHS online newspaper. Follow him on Twitter at @densmorejack.