The La Vernia Bear basketball team had a 71-70, nail-biter of a win against the Austin Eastside Memorial Panthers Feb. 3, raising their district record to 4-2 and their overall record to 15-16.
The Panthers pulled away from the Bears early, after catching on fire outside the arc. La Vernia implemented a full-court press, and finally seemed to break the spell on a breakaway and layup by Dillon Bellino. Now that Memorial’s long game had cooled, the Bears quickly caught up, with Major Muenster putting up 2 points after a steal to tie the score at 14-14. The Panthers were still very much in the game, though, and the score at the end of the first quarter had them ahead, 18-17.
Memorial resumed its bombardment in the second quarter, sending in two more from outside the arc, while La Vernia’s Muenster, Bellino, and Derek Miller continued finding their way into the paint. Brock Roberts stole the ball and sent it to Muenster for a layup and a free throw to tie the score again at 29-29. Points by Kyle Moczygemba, Roberts, and Jacob Perez widened the gap even further, before Miller put the cherry on top off a cool baseline pass from Moczygemba to end the half, 39-33.
Once out of the locker room, Bellino was impatient to get going on his upcoming scoring streak, stealing the ball twice from the Panthers. The first points again went to Memorial from a trey, however. Bellino responded with a layup off a no-look pass from Moczygemba to start things off for the Bears, before he, Roberts, Miller, and Corey Rackler began putting points on the board at a steady clip.
The Bears had managed to keep a healthy gap in the score for most of the half, until the Panthers suddenly picked up the pace with only a few minutes left on the clock, eventually tying it up at 69-69 with 48 seconds remaining. La Vernia inbounded and circled patiently around the arc, before Miller got inside for 2 points, drawing a roar from the crowd.
Then, on Memorial’s counterattack, a two-shot penalty was called against the Bears with only seven seconds left. Fans from both sides held their breath, as the Panther shooter’s first free throw bounced around on the rim, before finally falling in. The second one didn’t follow, however, leaving the score at 71-70, Bears.
La Vernia traveled to Navarro Feb. 7, and has a bye Feb. 10, before their final district game of the season Feb. 14 against Wimberley.