The annual boys basketball Crosstown Showdown went down to the last second after a back-and-forth battle tied the game at 54-54 with 11.6 seconds left, but A&M Consolidated’s Timothy Bradford scored almost five seconds later to secure a 56-54 win over Bryan at Tiger Gym — the program’s first victory over the Vikings in two years.
Consol head coach Andrew Daily said with four ties in the fourth quarter, his message to the team was to stay locked in and attack the basket at every opportunity.
“With the game being tied, we realized and understood that attacking the basket first was the mindset we want our guys to have, not just at the end of the game when the game is tied, but overall for 32 minutes. To stay poised mentally and not do anything that would possibly cost us something. I think they did a great job,” Daily said.
Despite Bradford’s basket at the end of the fourth, Bryan (3-1) had a chance to tie the game again at 1.8 seconds with two free throws by JD Smith. Smith, who made two free throws just seconds before, missed both shots.
“It’s a great confidence booster,” Daily said about the team’s first win of the season. “For one, you’re playing a team that hasn’t lost a game yet. They have a great program in Bryan. For us to be able to play to that level that they did is great for us to not only build a foundation in the win column, but it’s another test that we have to put in our arsenal for the games to come.”
The Tigers (1-2) had a slow start in the first quarter with Bryan taking an 8-7 lead going into the second. But Consol took advantage of 13 Viking fouls throughout the first half and went on a 20-point run in the second quarter to earn a 35-18 halftime lead.
Not ready to give up, the Vikings — and their fans — took control of the third quarter after going on their own 15-point run. Two consecutive 3-pointers by Smith with 4:09 left riled up the crowd and put Bryan within nine points of Consol.
With 10 fouls in the second half, Daily said the third quarter showed the good and bad qualities of the Tigers.
“I think the third quarter is what hurt us in regards to playing solid defense,” Daily said. “We’re playing against a real great team, so just being able to handle adversity [was key], which I think we weathered the storm in the third quarter and were able to come back in the fourth quarter and take care of business. But we still have spots we need to get better at.”
In addition to a nail-biting fourth quarter, the two teams also had passionate fans from both sides of the court building pressure.
Daily said with a matchup like this, tensions can build because the schools are so close, but its something the teams have to keep separate from the game.
“I think it’s a great thing. You can’t allow the crowd to get in your head because you have to be mindful of what’s going on between those lines,” Daily said.“I think the kids just love the game of basketball, love competing against one another and seeing each other get better.”