HALLETTSVILLE — All you can hear is the crowd.
The intent was for Hallettsville to be a neutral site. However, the Moulton Bobkatz crowd traveled well and made it a home game for Waelder’s rivals. And yet it was the Wildcats who not only got the last laugh but the district crown as Waelder knocked off Moulton 49-42 to win the District 30-1A title in a tiebreaking game.
Headed to the game, both teams ended their season 8-2 in district with losses to each other and Dime Box. The decision was made to play their third game of the season against each other. This time around, Waelder converted down low and frustrated Moulton through their different looks on defense.
“We were just hungry,” Wildcats head coach Jacob Garcia said. “We didn’t come out ‘star struck.’ We came out with a purpose, we came out with a plan and executed. We played a strong defense, we did what we were supposed to do.”
There were eight lead changes, with Moulton’s biggest lead being six points and Waelder’s seven points. Each team had their moments, whether it was a 10-2 run in the second quarter by Waelder, or three threes by Moulton’s Atley Pilat in the third quarter or a block by senior post Isaiah Ewing with 40 seconds left in the game, or even the clutch free throws by Carlos Reyes and Colby Thorne to put the game away, they rubber match between the Wildcats and Bobkatz did not disappoint.
“The kids wanted it,” Garcia said. “My first year in the rivalry, I didn’t know what to expect. It was an intense game, a good game.”
“We were moving the ball well, screening well,” he continued. “I’m proud of the guys, they played their hearts out.”
Six Wildcats found their way to the basket, with sophomore Colby Thorne leading the way with 20 points. Carlos Reyes added 12 points while Josh Jones-Miller had six, Ewing and Isaiah Jones-Miller had five each and Alex Reyna had one point.
Moulton’s last score came with 2:47 left in the game, a three pointer by Devin McCloud to cut the lead to 43-42 in favor of the Wildcats. Soon after, there were a few missed opportunities for both teams until Thorne stole the ball, passed it to Josh Jones-Miller who converted on a fast-break layup to go up 45-42 with 59 seconds left. A block by Ewing and four made free throws later, the Wildcats clinched the top seed plus the district crown to end the regular season.
“I know the team, they want to go far,” Garcia claimed. “This is just a step. I told them in the beginning, we’re good enough to go to state. We just got to keep pounding, keep showing up to practice, keep doing things right at practice. Things will play out the way they’re supposed to play out.”
With the win, Waelder earns a bye in the bi-district round. They will play the winner between Leakey and Runge, who play Monday, Feb. 19 in Devine.