The Bowie Jackrabbits came out on top in their matchup at rival Nocona on Friday.
The Jackrabbits won 39-32 in a low-scoring, grind-it-out game where neither team ever felt safe until the buzzer sounded.
Both teams were coming off of stinging district losses against City View and were looking to get back on track.
Right from the beginning the physical nature of the game was apparent. Drives to the rim were met with big bodies. Players were not easily awarded free throws by just throwing up a shot in the lane while getting contested.
Both teams were playing jersey-to-jersey type of tight man-to-man defense, with Bowie playing full-court though only to provide a bit of pressure and not to force turnovers.
Neither team had much success offensively in the first quarter. The Indians had trouble shaking loose on the perimeter for shots and had trouble penetrating cleanly into the lane. The only points came on a couple of free throw attempts senior Landry McCasland earned with grit.
Bowie had more chances, but no one was hitting their few open shots. Cade Thompson made the only two field goals in the quarter, including a 3-pointer.
In a score that would not seem out of place in a junior high game, the Jackrabbits led 6-2 after the first quarter.
Things picked up a bit for both sides in the second quarter. Nocona kept trying to drive into the lane and drew three trips to the free throw line. Unfortunately for the Indians, they only made 50% of their attempts, a disturbing trend that did not get better as the game went on.
The Jackrabbits kept their narrow lead throughout the quarter with timely shot making and got a big boost from Brody Armstrong off the bench. He made two 3-pointers in the quarter to keep them in the lead when no one else for Bowie was making their open 3-pointers.
The Jackrabbits lead was only one-score 16-13 heading into halftime, but neither team felt great about their offenses heading into the locker room.
The third quarter was another low scoring effort from both sides. McCasland knocked in Nocona’s only 3-pointer of the game during this time, but missed free throws continued to cost the team since field goals were so rare.
For Bowie, Armstrong scored two more baskets off the bench to lead the team since free throw attempts were tough to come by for the Jackrabbits in the first half of the game.
Nocona took its first lead midway through the quarter 18-16, but Bowie came back in the back half to take back the lead 22-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
It was the highest scoring quarter of the game for teams as the game wound down. Every time it looked like the Jackrabbits were going to comfortably pull away, the Indians would cut the lead back to one basket.
Nocona got a boost from Ryder Oswald who scored all six of his points during this period. Fellow post player Sam Davis scored two baskets and five of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as well to help the Indians try to catch Bowie.
The Jackrabbits kept their lead two baskets away in the final two minutes. Thompson led the team with seven points in the quarter including a couple of steals off of inbound passes late in the game.
Up 35-30 in the final minute, a missed free throw from Bowie was batted by Jackrabbit post player Riley Blackburn back outside to a teammate.
After a couple of passes, Armstrong hit his third 3-pointer of the game, the last of his game high 15 points for the final dagger.
Up 38-30 with 26 seconds left, it was too much for Nocona to overcome and not enough time. The Indians scored one more basket and Bowie a free throw before the final buzzer as the Jackrabbits won 39-32.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.