BOYS BASKETBALL: Midland Lee squeaks out a one-point victory over Odessa High

At the end of the first quarter, the Odessa High boys basketball team found itself in an eight-point deficit.

The Bronchos spent the next three quarters digging out of the hole.

Odessa High senior guard Ivan Aguilar finally tied the game 55-55 with a 3-pointer at the 2-minute, 35-second mark of the fourth quarter.

However, that was as close as the Bronchos came as Midland Lee scored five of next nine points to take a 60-59 victory during a District 2-6A game on Tuesday at the OHS Fieldhouse.

“We let (Midland Lee) feel good early,” Odessa High head coach Nate Bridges said. “They had a good game plan coming out knowing where they wanted to go with the basketball. We took a little bit to get lock in on the defensive end and once we got there the guys put together a rhythm and got a nice run. We had a big shot to pull within one, but we just ran out of time.”

Aguilar, who supplied 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, said it felt good to knock down that game-tying shot, but it hurt that it wasn’t enough for the win. The Bronchos (10-18 overall, 1-5 District 2-6A) haven’t won in their last five district contest. Odessa High opened district play with a 78-74 victory over Midland Lee.

“It felt great to make that shot, but it wasn’t enough for my team to pull it off,” Aguilar said. “We just have to keep fighting and keep pushing.”

Midland Lee head coach Justin Boswell said it was a pivotal game for both teams.

After the first go-around in the district schedule, three teams were tied with a 1-4 record — Midland Lee, Midland High and Odessa High. The win for the Rebels (9-18, 2-4) put them in the fourth spot in the district standings.

“This week was really clear cut for us, because we are playing the two teams that are also 1-4,” Boswell said. “That’s our opportunity to create separation with those teams for that fourth playoff spot. That’s a clear path for us.”

In the final 38 seconds, Midland Lee senior James Lydia made one of two free throws to give his team a 60-56 lead. The Rebels missed their next four free throws. Aguilar hit his third and final 3-pointer of the fourth quarter with 5 seconds left, but Midland Lee inbounds the ball and ran out the clock.

Midland Lee opened the contest with back-to-back 3-pointers from Sema’J Davis, which helped the team take a 19-11 lead after the first quarter. The senior guard finished with a team-high 23 points. The Rebels sank four 3-pointers in the first quarter and four during the next three.

Odessa High fought back and outscored Midland Lee 48-41 over the next 24 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to eliminate that slow start. The Rebels held multiple double-digit leads during the contest, which included its first, 19-9, after a 3-pointer from Cevonte Eaden in the first quarter and its last, 45-34, a pair of free throws from Davis.

Isaac Hernandez — junior point guard — and Aguilar powered the Bronchos. The duo supplied 45 of the team’s 59 points. Hernandez ended with a team-high 24, which included 14 in the second half. Aguilar posted 10 of 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Odessa High continues its season traveling to crosstown rival Permian at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Panthers bested the Bronchos 57-39 in their second meet — first of district play — on Jan. 17. Bridges said the team had three of its best practices of the season prior to the Midland Lee game and expects the same level of intensity before Friday’s contest.

“It’s another ball game,” Bridges said. “It’s a rivalry and it’s fun. We are looking at a quarter where they got after us in the first ball game, but I trust the guys are where they need to be to make it a competitive ball game.”

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