Friday night’s district playoff contest between Lone Grove and Dickson turned out to be a huge battle of wills.


Friday night’s district playoff contest between Lone Grove and Dickson turned out to be a huge battle of wills.

The Comets leading for the first 28 minutes, but in the final four minutes, the Longhorns’ intensity at both ends of the court finally paid off as they fought back to beat Dickson 54-41 in Class 4A, District 3 action.

Both teams advance to this week’s regionals at Pauls Valley, with the Comets playing a loser’s bracket game at 3 p.m. and the Longhorns matched up in a winner’s bracket contest at 8 p.m. that night. The regional moves to Byng Friday and Saturday.

The Longhorns (17-5) got all they could handle from the scrappy Comets. Lone Grove made just one of its 13 shots in the first period and  2-of-7 in the second frame. The Comets were up 8-2 after the opening frame and 15-9 at halftime.

The contest came down to free-throw shooting down the stretch. Lone Grove hit 23-of-38 and Dickson hit 14-of-23. The Longhorns turned the ball over 18 times and the Comets committed 25 turnovers, 15 of which came in the second half.

“This was a great overall team effort,” Lone Grove coach Gary Chaffin said. “We struggled the first three periods getting our shots to fall, and plenty of them were close in. When that happens the only thing you can do is pick up the defensive pressure.

“The players showed a lot of mental toughness tonight to be able to come back like they did.”

The Longhorns rallied in the third to pull to within 27-25 heading to the fourth. With the game knotted at 36-all, the Longhorns’ defense started to reap dividends.

Lone Grove went on a quick 8-0 run to pull ahead 44-36. It had taken Lone Grove 28 minutes before it had its first lead of the game. From there an 18-5 run closed it out.

“We spoke before he game about focus, fight and finish,” Dickson coach Chuck Ryan said. “And I certainly can’t fault this team’s fight. We lost a bit of our focus in the third period, and we simply could not finish the game like we had hoped. Lone Grove is a senior-laden team, and they know how to go out and win close games.

Lone Grove senior Josh Beck had 12 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth, to go with nine rebounds. Evan Jolliff had eight of his 13 points in the final period for Lone Groves.

The Longhorns finished with a 36-29 rebounding edge and shot 35 percent from the floor (16-of-46) compared to just 12-of-43 (28 percent) for the Comets. Thirty-two free throws were attempted in the final eight minutes.

Dickson (12-9) was paced by Jacob Lindsay’s 10 points. Justin Walker had nine points and 12 boards for the Comets.