BEEVILLE — The Blinn Buccaneers led most of the night on Saturday, but the Coastal Bend Cougar basketball team grabbed the lead late and held on for a 70-64 victory.
“It was a good win and a much needed win for the guys to get back on track in region play. We are still in the hunt for a south Region 14 championship, and with the win Saturday, hopefully, we are back on track,” said CBC head coach Larry Mendez.
The win keeps the Cougars in the hunt, at 6-6, just two games back of front-running San Jacinto that sports an 8-4 record in region battles. Four teams are set at 7-5 in region and the Cougars will be looking to leap- frog two or three of those clubs as the season winds down.
The Bucs and Cougars locked up in a close battle throughout the night. The visitors hit a few late first half shots to take a 32-30 lead into the locker rooms at the break. The Bucs held a 24-20 advantage with 3:16 left in the first half and that was the biggest lead either team would manage.
Turnovers and missed shots were crucial to both sides in the second half. The Bucs lived and died on their outside shooting. The Cougars meanwhile drove to the rim relentlessly and popped an occasional jumper when the 35-second clock was hitting its final few ticks.
The Cougars took a late lead on two free throws from La’Darrien Williams for a 61-59 advantage with 2:57 left to play. The Bucs hit a three-pointer to regain the lead but held it just briefly as Kriston Minor nailed a three-pointer for the Cougars to regain the top spot on the scoreboard at 64-62. The CBC men then got a stop and Minor added two straight free throws as the Bucs were forced to foul with less than a minute left on the clock.
It was all CBC down the stretch as they pulled away for the win, outscoring the visitors 9-2 in the last 1:41 of the game.
“It was a tough win Saturday; the guys stuck with the game plan and played hard and tough defense for the 40 minutes of the game. We made big shots and got good defensive stops down the stretch,” Mendez said.
La’Darrien Williams led the Cougar scoring with 20 points. Derrick Little followed with 16, and Myles Eglin hit for eight.
The Cougars will travel to Lee College in Baytown on Wednesday night and will be back in the Cougar Den on Saturday evening when the Angelina Roadrunners visit Beeville.