NEW BRAUNFELS — The Gonzales Apaches hung close to Wimberley in their bi-district playoff game Tuesday, Feb. 22, but the Texans came up with some big shots and bigger free throws down the stretch in a 71-65 win at Canyon High School.
The loss ends Gonzales’ season and caps their final overall record at 16-8. It was the final game for six Apaches seniors — Xavier Aguayo, Jacob Bakken, Brady Barfield, Josiah Contreras, Alex Escobedo and Jeremiah Hastings.
Gonzales actually started the game with a 6-0 run after junior Angel Martinez hit a free throw, Hastings scored inside and Escobedo completed a three-point play with a bucket and ensuing foul shot.
They would eventually see that lead jump to 9-2 after a Barfield three-pointer, but Wimberely came back with a 13-4 run of their own to seize a 15-13 lead at the end of the first period, led by sophomore point guard Hayes Pounds, who was a thorn all night in the side of the Apaches.
In the second period, the Texans were up 19-17 when they went on a 9-2 run to increase their advantage to 28-19. It looked like the game might be getting away from Gonzales, especially after several charges were called against the Apaches as they tried to drive to the hoop. However, the boys in the black and orange were not going to go away quietly.
Hastings made a strong move to score and then Aguayo hit a three-pointer to make it 28-24. Hastings scored again but missed a chance at a three-point play on an errant foul shot, however Martinez was johnny-on-the-spot for a putback that tied the game at 28-28.
With the score tied at 30-30, Wimberley closed out the waning seconds of the half with a 6-2 run and took a 36-32 lead into the lockerroom at the break.
The third period saw the Texans take seven-point leads at 41-34 and 46-39, but also saw the Apaches go on a mini-run to close the gap to 46-43 with 2:24 left in the period. Wimberley outscored Gonzales, 6-3, the rest of the period to make it 52-46 going into the final stanza.
The fourth period saw the Texans take an eight-point lead as they increased their lead to 56-48. A Barfield trey made it 56-51, but Wimberley then went on a 6-2 run to grab a nine-point lead at 62-53. Gonzales would make a late run to close to within four points at 64-60 on another Barfield trey with 1:41 left in the game as a full-court press began to help create some turnovers for the Apaches.
Gonzales attempted to foul the Texans to try to shorten possessions and leave themselves time to come back but Wimberley — and particularly Pounds — had other plans. The Texans hit 9-of-13 free throws, with Pounds hitting four of five and scoring 10 of his game-high 31 points in the final frame. And to make matters worse, Hastings — Gonzales’ best answer inside the paint — fouled out with the score at 67-62 with 1:02 left to play.
Time ran out then on the Apaches. Wimberley took a 70-62 lead on a free throw and a layup. Barfield was fouled shooting a trey and hit all three free throws to close it to 70-65 with 16 seconds left, but the Apaches would not score again before time expired.
Hastings led the Apaches with 20 points, while Barfield scored 15 (including four treys) and Martinez also scored 15 points. Aguayo had eight, Escobedo scored five and T.J. Riojas scored two.