Pottsboro beats Howe in 11-3A opener
HOWE — By the middle of the second quarter it looked like a game destined to end in a lopsided manner as the Pottsboro Cardinals were closing in on a 20-point lead.
The dry spell by the Howe Bulldogs lasted nearly eight minutes and nearly spelled disaster.
But despite the widening gap, Pottsboro was unable to put Howe away and the Bulldogs managed to get within seven points with just over four minutes remaining before the Cardinals earned a 57-46 win over the Bulldogs in the District 11-3A opener.
"I'm glad the first district game came on the road," Pottsboro head coach Greg Nix said. "Growth can come when there's struggles a little bit. We're pretty young with just three seniors. That's where you can have some issues."
Aidan Cannon scored 18 points, Brett Nix added 16 points and Travis Teague and Jake Kubik chipped in five points apiece for Pottsboro (8-2, 1-0), which hosts Gunter on Tuesday night.
Luke Lopez had 14 points, Noah Campbell chipped in nine points, Austin Haley added eight points and Jake Fabacher totaled six points for Howe (1-3, 0-1), which was scheduled to play at Bonham on Tuesday but that game has been postponed to a date to be determined after the Warriors suspended all activities for two weeks due to COVID-19.
After a Nix layin was the only scoring in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter, Howe got three-pointers from Jacob Campbell and Lopez sandwiched around another Nix bucket.
Lopez's shot from long distance made it a 49-42 game with 4:14 remaining but just as quickly as the Bulldogs had gotten that close, they almost didn't score for the rest of the game. Lopez had a layup with 12 seconds left after the Cardinals were able to get baskets by Aaron Massie and Cannon, after a steal, before Nix made it 55-42 on a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left.
Fabacher had a putback at the buzzer for the third Howe basket of the quarter.
Howe had its best showing in the third quarter, producing more points in that eight-minute span (19) than it did in the first half and the Bulldogs were down just nine heading to the fourth.
Haley was the catalyst as he scored all eight of his points in the stanza and Lopez made all three free throws after being fouled on a shot from beyond the arc.
Cannon hit a pair of three-pointers and Nix scored five points, including a three, during the third as the Cardinals were up 45-36 and the end of the quarter.
Pottsboro carried a 30-17 lead into half-time after overcoming a rocky stretch.
Howe went on a 9-0 run powered by the Campbell brothers with Noah scoring the final seven points to get deficit down to nine points.
Teague hit a three-pointer from the left corner to stunt the momentum with Pottsboro's first bucket in nearly three minutes and Cannon drilled a three with 31 seconds remaining in the half to get the margin to 13 after Lopez scored on a drive.
Zak DeFrange had ended Howe's scoring drought with a layin at the 6:42 mark of the second quarter. It stood as the only points by the Bulldogs in more than 12 minutes of action until the nine-point burst started with 3:54 to go until the break.
Pottsboro couldn't take full advantage as it only added three points to its lead at 24-6 on a Nix putback. Kubik hit a jumper and Braden Driggs made a free throw as the Cardinals managed just five points in the opening six minutes of the frame.
"We had quite a few busts in set plays," Nix said. "We'd have four people do the right thing and one person doing the wrong one."
Just a couple minutes into the game, Pottsboro had a 6-4 lead after Lopez made a three and also hit a free throw. The Bulldogs would then go the rest of the quarter without scoring.
Ryan Kennedy came up with a steal and converted a three-point play to start the 14-0 run which would carry into the second quarter.
After the first eight minutes the Cardinals held an 18-4 advantage as six different players made shots, including three-pointers from Nix and Driggs.
"I thought we came out with great energy," Nix said. "Then we didn't get to some loose balls, made a couple mistakes and I felt it let them get back in the game."