Everyone deserves a second chance. The Mansfield SR Tigers went 6-8 in the first half of their season to close 2022. The good thing about basketball though is that teams tend to get a second shot at conference opponents. So Mansfield Head Coach Joshua “Doc” Brown threw in the ol’ VHS tapes of past games, rigged up a flux capacitor, and sent the Tigers into 2023 with a four-game win streak. Wins over Magazine, Mountainburg, JC Westside, and Hector all of a sudden drove the Tigers into second place in the 2A-4. But could Mansfield maintain their top speed in a part two match against the Rockets of Future School or would they be stuck in the past?
Even though Future School suited up just five players for the game, the Tigers knew that they couldn’t take the Rockets lightly. After Zach Hayslip won the jump ball, Daniel Burton hit the score button with a short jumper to put Mansfield up 2-0 to start the game. The Rockets rocketed right back though by hitting a jumper of their own and following that up with a deep three-point bucket to take a 5-2 lead. Mansfield then went on a roll starting with a Daniel Burton layup with an added plus one off a foul. Drew Elmore jumped into the mix with a powerful board bucket and then Elmore stole the ball and dished it to Clint Stovall who dropped in a three-pointer. Another three was airmailed by Stovall giving the Tigers a 13-5 lead forcing the Rockets to call a time-out with 3:50 left in the opening quarter. Future School came out of the time-out with a quick three-point shot but that was all the Tigers would give them as the first quarter ended with a 13-8 score in Mansfield’s favor.
A five-point lead to start the second quarter isn’t exactly what the Tigers desired. With Mansfield seeing stars, the Rockets rattled off another three points off of a layup and a free throw. Now with the Tigers speedometer slowing down after three minutes without scoring, Mansfield needed a boost. Travis Tobey sped things up a little for the Tigers with a three-point swish then was backed up with a Daniel Burton board bucket. Future School was able to get a free throw point to cut off the Tigers run, but Mansfield kept the scoreboard going with another Travis Tobey three-pointer. Greyson Baggett unselfishly gave Clint Stovall an assist for the layup then showed his defensive prowess with a smooth steal. With just 0:06 left in the half, Braxton Byers was fouled on a putback and dropped in a free throw to send the Tigers into halftime with a 29-15 lead.
The Tigers came out of the half with purpose as Clint Stovall sent a darting pass across the court to Daniel Burton for the easy layup. Burton then took a loose ball and went the length of the court for another quick drop-in. The Rockets were able to set up a smooth board bucket to stop Mansfield’s scoring run, but Drew Elmore picked things up right where the Tigers left off by fiercely battling his way to the boards for a score. The teams traded a couple of jump shots showing that kept things lively before Peyton Martin drove the baseline and made a circus-like reverse layup on the Rockets defense. Clint Stovall and Daniel Burton drained a couple of threes to send the Future School reeling as the Rockets called a time-out with 1:40 left in the quarter. As proven earlier in the game, time-outs turn into Future School points and the Rockets did just that by laying up a fast bucket after the break. There just weren’t enough time-outs to curve the score though as Mansfield ended the third quarter up 49-27.
A large lead going into the fourth quarter isn’t something you’ll hear any team complain about, but the Tigers were determined to not fall back to their past practices of falling at the end of games. Clint Stovall kicked things off with not one, but two midrange jump shots and then sank a three-pointer for good measure. Mansfield again showed their unselfish passing nature with a Winston Allison to Greyson Baggett to Clint Stovall passing trifecta for a Stovall layup. Although the Future School was able to rattle off seven unanswered points, the Tigers remained atop the scoreboard as Mansfield defeated the Future School Rockets with a 61-34 final. Clint Stovall led the team in scoring with 22 points in the game followed closely by Daniel Burton who finished with 19 points. Travis Tobey and Drew Elmore tied with 6 points apiece. Braxton Byers, Peyton Martin, Zach Hayslip, and Winston Philmon closed out the scoring by combining for 8 points in the Tigers win. The victory keeps Mansfield as the number two ranked team in the 2A-4, but their next opponent is undefeated and holds the top spot. Mansfield will host the defending state champion Lavaca Golden Arrows. The game has been postponed until 6:00pm on Wednesday, January 25th due to the threat of inclement weather. Coach Joshua “Doc” Brown will reset the Tigers flux capacitor and the Tigers will fill up their Delorian to get ready for what is sure to be one “GREAT SCOTT” of a game!