Lobos complete comeback with overtime victory
DENTON -- With a perfect district mark on the line against Denton Ryan on Tuesday, the Lobos were more than tested for their tenth win against 4-4A counterparts.
The Lobos needed overtime to earn a 56-54 victory and completed the win with a late fourth-quarter comeback that was fueled by junior guard Devante' Pullum.
"[Pullum] is the leader of our team," said Rusty Segler, Little Elm head coach. "He's a 32-minute a night player. He's just a warrior."
Despite the late heroics of Pullum, who scored a team-high 19 points in the game, the Lobos found themselves trailing by four points after the opening quarter.
Offense came at a premium for Little Elm for much of the second half, as junior Biron Joseph was the only player to score more than three points in the first two frames.
Joseph, who ended the game with 11 points, scored nine in the opening half.
That lack of balance ultimately allowed the Raiders to carry a 22-20 lead into the locker room. Segler said the team talked about keeping its unbeaten district mark alive with a big second half.
"I challenged them at halftime," he said. "They know that 10-0 is a lot better than 9-1."
The Little Elm offense continued to struggle in the third quarter though, putting in just 10 points for the third straight frame.
Matters were made worse with leading scorer Joseph struggling to find a rhythm in the quarter and also earning a technical foul midway through the stanza when he and a Ryan player were each called for a tech.
"That was just two teams full of warriors going at it," Segler said. "They don't like to lose just like we don't like to."
With Ryan scoring 14 points in the third, led by the one-man show of senior Trey Mohair, the Raiders widened their halftime lead to six points entering the fourth.
Mohair put in a game-high 25 points on the night and nearly gave Little Elm its first district loss of the season by himself.
"That cat can play against anybody," Segler said.
However, it was Mohair's struggles at the free-throw line late in the game that ultimately kept the Lobos in contention.
The senior had several chances to put the game away and missed on two opportunities to make it a two-possession contest.
That's when Pullum made Ryan pay, hitting a tough lay-in with 24 seconds left in the game to trim the deficit to just two points.
After another Mohair missed free throw, Pullum then knotted the game at 49 apiece with another lay-in that eventually sent the game into overtime.
Segler said the most impressive thing about his team's late comeback was the fact that it came without the services of Joseph.
"What is so big about that is the impact it could have for the rest of the season," he said.
After a Mohair three put the Raiders ahead by two points with just 1:50 left in overtime, the Lobos went on a quick 4-0 run that saw senior Bryan Owen put the team ahead by two points with a lay-up at the 0:30 mark.
Mohair was able to cut it to a one-point affair by going 1-of-2 at the line before Pullum made it, 56-54, by sinking 1-of-2 at the line himself.
The Raiders could only manage a halfcourt prayer as time expires though, giving the Lobos a two-point victory to keep the team unbeaten against District 4-4A foes.
The victory put Little Elm's season mark at 24-6 and sets the team up with a 7:30 p.m. home contest against Wichita Falls Rider tonight.
Following tonight's contest with Rider, the Lobos will meet second-place The Colony Tuesday night in a rematch of the Jan. 20 contest that saw the Lobos earn a 10-point win.
"We can't look too far ahead," Segler said. "That's my job as a coach to make sure that doesn't happen. I don't think they're going to like me very much tomorrow."