Anderson leads comeback, propels Northwest past Houston Sam Houston

By Reece Waddell | Published Thursday, December 29, 2017.
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As the clock dwindled under two minutes Thursday night, Northwest guard Avery Anderson crossed halfcourt and approached the three-point line.

Without hesitation, Anderson stepped back with a defender in his face and hoisted a 3-pointer that found nothing but twine. It was his fourth made 3 in the Texans’ last five trips up the floor, and on the next possession, senior Mason Hix put Northwest up for good.

Trailing by two, Hix drove baseline and finished through contact, completing the and-one to propel the Texans to an 81-76 victory over Houston Sam Houston, the No. 8 ranked team in 6A.

“He had it in his mind he was going to dunk that ball,” said Northwest coach Mike Hatch. “He finished strong and got the free throw. That’s a huge, get-over-the-hump shot.”

Northwest erased a double-digit first half deficit, falling behind due in large part to an inability to break the Tigers’ full-court press. Several errant passes and costly mistakes led to Sam Houston points, putting the Texans in a hole not once, but twice.

“Everybody had something to do with [the win],” Hatch said. “I’m excited we could reward ourselves with a win. It’s one of those of those games where you feel like you play really well for most of the game. [We] just had some two-minute blips of terrible ball.”

After clawing back to tie and take the lead for a brief moment, Northwest nearly fell behind by more than 10 in the third quarter when the Tigers reverted back to their full-court press. Just when it looked like the game was slipping away from the Texans, Anderson came to the rescue.

The junior guard finished with a game-high 33 points, scoring 24 of them in the fourth quarter. Anderson outscored the entire Sam Houston team in the final frame 24-22, leaving the Tigers scratching their heads trying to figure out how to guard him.

“I was just trying to get the [win] for my team,” Anderson said. “I had a sluggish and bad first half. I knew I had to make up for it. After the first two [3s] went in, I knew I was on.”

Anderson managed just six points in the first half before catching fire in the fourth quarter. Hatch said he thought Anderson may have been pressing the issue early, leading to some tough shots and turnovers. He reiterated that once Anderson finds his groove, he believes he is a special player, as evidenced by fourth quarter performance.

Hix finished second on the team in scoring with 22 points. Sam Houston’s Kendric Davis had 31 points in the loss.

With the win, Northwest advances to the tournament quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Friday against Waxahachie, the No. 1 ranked team in 5A. Should the Texans win that game, they would advance to the tournament semifinals at 9:30 p.m. Friday and play the winner of Denton Guyer and San Antonio Wagner.

“Our kids will be excited about playing them,” Hatch said. “I think we’ll come up tomorrow and battle and we’ll just see what happens.”

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