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Deer squeeze by Dobie at home

Written by Adrian Romero. Posted in Sports

fulldeerhead smallIN SPORTS
The short-handed Deer basketball team grinded out a 50-49 victory Tuesday night over Dobie. The Deer look to strengthen their playoff positioning with two more games left in the regular season at Memorial and then at home against first-place West Brook.

The Deer Park boy's basketball team came out on top of a very close game against Dobie on Tuesday night, with a final score of 50-49. Deer Park played without senior starting forward and Captain Tristan Ikpe, who was benched due to an injury. "It was frustrating not being able to be out there with my team. I'm just ready to play again and contribute," Ikpe said.

The game started off well for the Deer, winning the tip-off and then going straight into their offense that was able to move the ball around effectively. However, it was Dobie who ended up on the board first. Deer Park matched those points with some of their own, before the Longhorn offense lit up, finding success driving in to score as well as shooting from behind the arc. The Deer defense tightened up after this burst, and managed to slow down Dobie's offense. Both teams would go back and forth on scoring, but Dobie managed to stay ahead of the Deer by at least 3 points midway through the quarter. The final minutes of the quarter were all Deer Park, with the team going on a 9-0 run to gain the lead before Dobie finished the quarter with a buzzer-beater shot inside the paint.

Dobie carried the momentum from the buzzer-beater and turned it into an 11-0 scoring run until the final three minutes of the half. Deer Park's offensive struggles would continue in the quarter, as 6 out of the total 8 points of the second quarter come from free throws. Even with the Deer offense becoming virtually stagnant in the second quarter, they only trailed 29-28 at halftime.

The second half began with Dobie immediately applying tight pressure on the Deer, which seemed to be working well for them in the first half. The Dobie offense played fast as well, but the Deer managed to hold their ground. Offensively, a majority of the shots just weren't falling in for Deer Park even though the opportunities were there. Dobie went on a 4-0 run as a result of the Deer's lack of scoring. This run would last 5 minutes as the Longhorn offense slowed down and played keep away from Deer Park in order to run the clock down and sit on their lead. This strategy managed to keep the ball out of Deer Park's possession and allowed Dobie to start the final quarter with a 33-32 lead over the Deer.

The fourth quarter started off with the Deer offense still struggling, until senior guard Noah Vaughn made a 3 in order to give his team the lead. Dobie would answer this with scoring of their own to retake the lead, as the Deer adjusted to Dobie's keep away offense that only drove in when pressured. Deer Park's adjustments would work, as they started shutting down the Longhorns. This defensive success would carry over into the Deer offense, as they would go on a 10-0 run before Dobie could answer. The final 2 minutes of play saw both teams trade blows offensively, but the late burst of scoring by Deer Park proved to be too much as Dobie fell 50-49.

Zach Walker led the Deer with 13 points and 7 rebounds while Cade Parham had 11 points and 6 boards. Noah Vaughn and Brad Milliorn had nine points each for the Deer in the winning effort.

With the second close game win for his team in the rearview mirror, Head Coach Darren Chandler now looks end the season strong while still improving even with a relatively easy schedule against two teams that his team beat by at least 20 points the last time they played.

"I tell my guys to keep the energy up and play with intensity every game so we don't get lax and keep improving as we go into playoffs. We want to play in March, so we still have to get better. We've been working on things in practice to get better and I'm starting to see some of it but we just have to get consistent in those things to meet our goal," Chandler said.