The Henderson Lions varsity team geared up for an away game just this past Friday, against their neighbors the West Rusk Raiders.  Coming off a recent win from the game last Tuesday, the Henderson Lions made sure to take home the victory in the explosive match, the Lions won by a four-point margin, 54-50.

This was the first game of the season where the Lions took on a local school from the same county. The Raiders came into the game with an overall record of 0-1, with their first game against the Douglass Indians having been a loss.

The Raiders hosted the Lions in the West Rusk home court, and the game started at 6:15 p.m.

When the game started the West Rusk Raiders took the initiative to score the first field goal of the night while the Lions had an opportunistic chance for a three-pointer. With the score starting at 3-2, the game quickly progressed into a free-for-all.

During the first quarter, the Lions’ #3 Trust Carston and #4 Bryson Collins both went hard on offense, making aggressive plays, bursting through the Raiders’ defenses. Carston managed a three-pointer before attempting his two free throw shots off of the foul from West Rusk, scoring off one. Collins pulled back, sinking three 3-pointers for the team from the outside. 

The Lions’ team players #20 Austin Berry and #12 Devin Phillips both added a field goal right before the end of the first, bringing the score at the end of the first to 20-15 for the game. During the first, the most notable defensive players were #15 Tobaius Jackson and #1 Christian Alexander. 

Starting in the second quarter, the Lions picked up their pace, pushing the Raiders into a corner, with rebounds being stolen right from underneath their noses. Carston, Collins, Phillips, and Jackson all played key roles in the second. 

When Carston and Collins were getting aggressive and playing for shots in the field-goal line, Phillips and Jackson, along with Berry, backed them up as they set up their shots. Shutting down the defense of the Raiders, the Lions scored 12 more points in the second. Carston and Collins both made two field goals, while Phillips and Jackson each scored one for themselves.

Raiders #23 and #0 took two field goals and a three-pointer during the second quarter, pulling their score into the twenties. The half ended with the Lions up by 10 points, 32-22.

Gathering up all their might, the Raiders took to the court in the third, attempting to close the gap on the scoreboard. Taking the initiative, Raiders #23 and #0 once again took points from the Lions, but not enough to close the gap.

The third quarter was dominated by the Lions as they continued to tear into the Raiders’ defenses. A foul from the Raiders on Phillips allowed for a point up, which spiraled into another field goal made by Collins. 

In the third, Collins made two field goals, Jackson made one, and Phillips made two after the free throws. The Raiders got a steal off the Lions and attempted to score, but were thwarted as the ball bounced off the backboard.

 As the third was coming to an end, and the fourth quarter started, the Raiders started to falter on the court. As soon as the clock for the fourth started its countdown, the Lions grabbed the chance to score first. Starting with a field goal, the Lions went neck-and-neck with the Raiders in the last.

Scoring off two three-pointers the Raiders seemed to take back the momentum of the game in the fourth, but the Lions kept up their steady pace from earlier, which paid off as they were able to take a rebound and score off of the steal.

The fourth quickly became a nailbiter, with the Raiders almost catching up, a one-point difference with less than 4 minutes left in the game. The Lions made their move, picking up seven points before the buzzer. The game came to a decisive close, the Lions pulling out the win with a four-point difference, 54-50.

The start players of the game were Collins, Carston, and Phillips. Collins had scored a total of fifteen points, Carston came in close behind him with 13 points overall, and Phillips tied up with Collins with a total of fifteen points as well.

The coaching staff and the young athletes from Henderson were more than ecstatic for their second win of December, falling back to their territory to prepare for their next game.

Head Boys Basketball Coach Joshua Francis was questioned regarding the adversity on the court towards the end of the game. He said, “I felt like the kids had a positive attitude through the ups and downs of the game. As a team, we handled the adversity well towards the end and came out with a big victory on the road against a close rival.”

As the night came to a close, the young athletes left the court with their minds already turning towards their next game. Heading back to the Lions’ territory to work on perfecting their teamwork and individual capabilities the Lions then turned their attention to their game against the Arp Tigers from last night, Tuesday, Dec. 8. The results from that game will come in a later edition.

Their next game will be against the Hallsville (5-2) Bobcats this coming Friday, Dec. 11, in the Lions’ home court. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m

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