In the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs Wednesday night, the Lancaster Bruins showed they can take a punch. Their counter-punch was even better, as they fought off a Westside team for a 72-42 home win.
Westside took a 9-5 lead after a 7-0 run, with five of those points coming from senior guard Kyreem Sadler. Lancaster added an 8-0 spurt of their own, with six by junior guard Sindarious Thornwell, which included the first bucket of the second period.
The Bruins then led 13-9 and held a 23-19 advantage at the half.
A three-point play the old-fashioned way from Thornwell at the 5:58 mark of the third pushed the cushion to 30-22. Senior guard Alan Robinson followed with a three-pointer and Thornwell fed junior forward C.D. Pelham a behind-the-back pass for two on a fast break and Pelham was fouled. The and-1 completed a 9-0 run, and the lead swelled to 36-22.
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After a quick four points from the Rams, the Bruins threw their best counter of the night. Senior guard Nate Bush was fouled by Westside's Quez Gaines and Gaines was hit with a technical when he protested the call. Bush hit one of two free throws and Robinson drained both technical shots. Lancaster retained possession and , Robinson banked in a three to complete the six-point possession.
Four more points finished the 10-0 run and pushed the lead to 20.
"They hit us with a couple punches and we absorbed it," Lancaster head coach Ricardo Priester said. "Alan's a captain and he's been doing it for us all year, so we wouldn't expect anything different in that moment."
"Basketball is a game of runs, and that little run we made took away their momentum," said Robinson, who had ten of his game-high 24 in the third quarter.
The Bruins outscored the Rams 27-11 in the period and led 50-30.
The Westside story was fouls and missed threes. It was whistled for ten violations and misfired on 12 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Keanthony Foster had a breakaway jam in the final frame as part of a 12-2 run.
Lancaster moves to 23-3 and will face either J.L. Mann at home or travel to Wren on Saturday.