The Decatur Eagles closed two tough, physically demanding days on the court in Bridgeport by exacting a bit of revenge from the previous year.
With four players in double figures, including 14 points each from Austin Lamirand and Caleb Hogan, the Eagles blasted Crandall 68-50 in the gold bracket championship game of the Bridgeport Holiday Tournament.
Crandall had beat Decatur in the 2010 event.
“It’s nice getting Crandall after they got us here last year,” said Decatur coach Roger Brown.
But Brown and the Eagles were more excited about how they survived the tournament and pulled out four wins against bigger and more athletic teams from Big Spring, Wichita Falls and Granbury to reach the finals.
“We knew coming here with the teams we were facing that it’d be tough,” said Lamirand, who averaged 17.5 points in the four games. “We had a hard road to the championship, and we took it.
“We faced adversity the whole tournament. We should be ready for district now.”
Decatur moved to 13-6 for the season. Brown said the tournament was a nice response to the loss at Vernon before the Christmas break.
“We are excited as a staff and as a team,” he said. “We played against some athletic teams. Each team we played brought a different element.
“The main thing this time of year is you are trying to clean things up fundamentally and become a family. This is going to help going into district.”
The Eagles built a 10-point halftime lead on Crandall, 37-27. Decatur poured in 22 in the second quarter with 10 from Parker Slate and six from Hogan.
Crandall never got within 10 in the second half. Lamirand’s three-pointer followed by a layup-and-one with 6:04 left in the game put the Eagles up 16.
In pool play, the Eagles faced Big Spring and Wichita Falls.
Lamirand scored 20 to lead Decatur to a 36-25 win over Big Spring.
The Eagles finished pool play with a 59-54 win over Wichita Falls.
Decatur point guard Taylor Clayton knocked down four free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Eagles hold on. Clayton finished with 14 points, going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. He hit eight in the final quarter to help Decatur stave off the Wichita Falls comeback.
Decatur led 49-35 with 5:36 to go after a pair of Clayton free throws.
Wichita Falls rallied to make it a one-possession game at 55-52 with 35 seconds left. Clayton then hit free throws around a Wichita Falls basket to stretch the margin to two possessions.
The Eagles built the lead behind Lamirand, who finished with 23 points. He went 5-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc.
The Eagles led 28-22 at halftime.
Wichita Falls cut the deficit to one, 32-31, with 3:51 left in the third quarter.
With three-pointers from Cameron Mize and Lamirand, Decatur closed the frame on an 8-2 run to take a 40-33 lead into the fourth quarter.
Decatur reached the finals of the gold bracket, rallying from an 18-12 halftime deficit to beat Granbury 31-28.
The Eagles went on a 10-4 run in the third quarter to tie the game at 22. Decatur held Granbury to four field goals in the second half.
Lamirand had 13 points and Hogan 11 in the win.