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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Odessa High clinches playoff spot - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Odessa High clinches playoff spot

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:03 am

The Odessa High boys basketball team is going back to the playoffs.

The Bronchos punched their postseason ticket thanks to a 75-67 win over Midland High Friday in District 2-6A play at the OHS Fieldhouse.

Led by 32 points from sophomore guard L.J. Willis, the Bronchos (14-18 overall, 4-5 in district) erased an early deficit and then spent the majority of the night playing from ahead in a close matchup.

Coco Rose had 19 points while Chris Blair had 11 for Odessa High.

“That second half, I was really impressed with my team,” Odessa High head coach Neal Welch said. “We only had five turnovers which was big for our team. That’s been a struggle for us all year. We really played well together. We played as hard as we could. We put together a maximum effort.”

Brett Canis and Nicholas Smith led Midland High (14-14, 2-7) with 22 and 21 points, respectively, while Mario Hurtado had 11.

“It was just a good game and a competitive one that went back and forth,” Midland High head coach Shan Hooker said. “Both teams were playing their hearts out. They just had a little bit more gas than we did.”

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 10-3 lead with 5:12 left in the opening quarter before the Bronchos tied the game with a 9-2 run of their own.

Odessa High used that momentum to take a 20-18 lead into the second quarter.

The game stayed close for most of the second quarter but the Bronchos took a 34-31 lead at halftime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Jaylen McCowan to end the half.

A 3-pointer from Hurtado from the left side of the floor gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half at 43-42 with under four minutes left in the third quarter.

But the Bronchos responded with consecutive layups from Willis to regain the lead.

Odessa High guard Terrance Goodley scored his first basket of the night with a 3-pointer from the left side of the court and drew a foul in the process. He missed the free throw and a Canis free throw on a technical foul gave the Bronchos a 53-46 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

Canis scored back-to-back field goals to cut Odessa High’s lead to three points to start the fourth quarter. The Bronchos, however, had a swift response and built a 65-56 lead with 3:26 left in the game.

Two free throws from Willis and a Rose layup extended the lead to 69-58 and helped the Bronchos seal a playoff spot in the process.

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