The Nixon-Smiley Mustangs are NIT champions — champions of the 2021 Nordhheim Invitational Tournament — after scoring the final basket with 2.1 seconds left to defeat the host Nordheim Pirates, 49-48, on Saturday, Dec. 4.
The thrilling victory now has Nixon-Smiley at 5-0 on the season as the team has outscored its opponents by a 318-191 margin. The Mustangs are averaging more than 63 points per game and allowing just a little more than 38.
Stats from the championship game were not yet available.
“Although there were several outstanding individual performances, it was truly a complete team effort and victory,” Mustang Coach Carlton McKinney said. “We would also like to recognize and thank all of the fan support not only in the championship game but throughout the entire tournament. Your support was a huge factor in the success of the team. Thank you again!”
During their first game of the tournament on Thursday, the Mustangs had no problems at all with Runge as they rolled to an 85-26 victory. It may have been Nixon-Smiley’s first tournament game this season, but they looked in championship form.
They jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, 24-10, and never looked back. After a strong start, the Mustangs went on to shut down the Runge offense, allowing only just six points in the entire second half.
The Mustangs were led by Dustin Mejia with 19; Bradyn Martinez with 16; Kade Dixon with 11; Holden Canion with 10; Luke Moses with seven; Ruben Bomer with six; Fernando Mejia and David Abundis each with four, and Aiden Flores with three.
The second game on Friday saw Nixon-Smiley take a 51-35 win over the Industrial Cobras. After a tough start, the Mustangs worked their way into a 28-21 halftime lead. They dominated the second half defensively only giving up six points in the third quarter and eight points in the fourth.
The leading scorers for the Mustangs included Dustin Mejia and Bradyn Martinez with 14 each; Luke Moses with eight; David Abundis with seven; Jeremiah Munoz with six; and Holden Canion with two.
The Mustangs were scheduled to travel to Bloomington to take on the Bobcats on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and then go to the Moulton Invitational Tournament on Thursday and Friday.