A scoring drought for the ages cost the BTW Lions dearly in Tuesday night’s 53-46 loss to home-standing Evangel.
The first District 1-3A meeting between the foes was a toss-up heading into the fourth quarter when disaster struck for the visitors. A normally potent offensive attack for coach Donnita Rogers’ club suddenly went dry as the Lions went the first six minutes without scoring and finished with just three field goals in the quarter.
“The fourth quarter killed us, but the foul-ratio was horrible,” Rogers said. “They probably shot three times the number of free throws we did. But give Evangel credit, they played defense and made free throws, and that’s what you have to do to win championships.”
Evangel (13-9, 1-1) shot 25 free throws, converting 18, while the Lions made 4-of-8 in the game.
The district contest featured a match-up of two of the top players in the area in Evangel’s Calvin Daniels, who tossed in 25 points, and BTW’s Karim El-Amin, who finished with 15. Daniels’ shooting from deep on the perimeter, including a trio of 3-pointers, allowed coach Rene Mason’s club to keep pace in the district race.
“This district will be tough every night and you can’t be looking at the records or the power ratings,” Mason said. “BTW kept coming after us, but we were able to sustain and get the win.”
Evangel leaped out to a 10-2 advantage to open the game, thanks to six points from Daniels. After a 3-pointer by BTW’s Bobdrick Thomas, who fished with 12 points and with a trio of 3-pointers, the visitors were back within 12-9 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. That frame ended with Evangel on top 16-13 after a Marvonte Alexander bucket to end it.
The game was back and forth throughout the second quarter after the Lions (6-9, 0-2) took their first lead on an Alexander bucket underneath with less than two minutes left on a nice assist from El-Amin.
The teams traded free throws for the last minute of the half and it ended up tied at 23 in a low-scoring affair.
BTW led for most of the third quarter after Thomas hit a 3-pointer to open it, but Evangel managed scores from DeAndrea Drew and Daniels in the last minute to take the lead for good at 39-37.
The Eagles weren’t shooting lights-out in the fourth, but they didn’t need to with BTW clanging shots off the rim. The BTW lead was 51-40 with 2:06 remaining when El-Amin scored the first bucket of the frame for the Lions underneath. Thomas made a pair of 3-pointers for BTW with less than 15 seconds remaining.
Evangel will travel to Mansfield on Friday, while BTW hosts North Webster.