Barbers Hill’s Gaven Barber, 2, works past Goose Creek Memorial’s Jaylon Thomas during Friday night’s action. Barbers Hill won 56-51. (Photo by Kim Keefer)

Late 11-0 run propels Eagles

MONT BELVIEU – It was an early test for both the Goose Creek Memorial and Barbers Hill boys basketball teams Friday night.

A pressing and physical GCM squad made the trip about a half dozen miles up the road to battle an Eagles roster coming off a major offseason roster facelift and trying to discover an identity.

Chalk one up for the team with growing pains.

In a back-and-forth affair, the Eagles had the momentum when it matters most – late – and held on for a 56-51 win in an entertaining contest.

Barbers Hill (2-0) was led by Cole Anderson (14 points), Devin Figueroa (nine points) and Mason Daniels (eight points and a number of drawn charges).

The Eagles found a way to win despite their guards struggling at times against the Patriots press after converting on the offensive end.

Those runs allowed GCM to make multiple rallies.

“We didn’t make great decisions and we didn’t really play that well tonight,” Barbers Hill head coach Chris Pennington said. “We played a lot better at Texas City Tuesday. A lot hard to do with how the game was officiated, but we have to play a lot more physical with the ball.

“Soon as they scored, they tried to jump on it, and we knew that’s what they do. Boles makes them go and he got into some foul trouble tonight.”

GCM (0-2) saw Sam Bradford (14 points) and T.J. Boles (nine points) lead the way.

“I am proud of the effort,” GCM head coach Marcus Ebow said. “We were five or six points in the fourth quarter, and we get a stop and turn it back over to them. That was a good, quality team.

“Once we lost our rhythm with the press once we got into the bonus and we had to adjust because of the fouls. Our energy guy T.J. fouled out and that was part of it too.”

Barbers Hill led 18-10 after the first quarter ended thanks to a nice mix of three-pointers, free throws and interior finishes.

GCM’s press caused havoc, but an inability to score on the regular, kept them from getting any real momentum early until they went on a 10-3 run midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit to 23-20 with 3:50 before halftime.

A Boles hoop-and-harm gave GCM its first lead at 25-23 before a late 8-2 Barbers Hill run pushed the hosts to a 31-27 halftime edge.

The Eagles lead fluctuated between six and eight points for the Eagles before the Patriots finally got a consistent run of play and a NO. 10 sensational dish to Bradford for the finish tied the game at 41-41 with three minutes left in the third quarter. The momentum carried as GCM took a 46-41 lead as the fourth quarter beckoned.

With 4:32 left in the game, GCM held a 51-45 advantage on another Bradford score, this time off of another smooth pass from NO. 5.

That’s when Barbers Hill got serious an went on an 11-0 run to end the game, including a three-pointer by Simon Larranaga with 1:40 to go to essentially win the contest for the Eagles.

The two wins this week is a pleasant elixir for a Barbers Hill squad just trying to figure things out.

“We are young and so we’re trying to find out what are we and what is our identity,” Pennington said. “It’s a process.”

That process is also happening for the Patriots who are learning their own way as well.

“It’s game two in a long season and we have seen glimpses and flashes of what kind of team we can be,” Ebow said.

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