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One tough night: Resilient Lovejoy undone by Seguin in physical third round
BY Richard C. White, firstname.lastname@example.org
COPPELL -- Despite an effort that would produce a win in most games, the Lovejoy boys basketball team was on the losing end of a hyper-aggressive regional quarterfinal Tuesday night, falling to Arlington Seguin, 49-35, from Coppell High School.
"I thought we really played well in so many different phases tonight," said Kyle Herrema, Lovejoy head coach. "It's hard to replicate their speed in practice, but I'll tell you, we played a gutsy game and you can't be prouder of a group of kids than that."
Turnovers hurt the Leopards, costing them countless scoring opportunities.
Senior Trevor Eckard led Lovejoy with 16 points.
"It starts with our captain Trevor," Herrema said. "He selflessly does whatever this team needs and he doesn't get enough acclaim."
Also contributing for the Leopards was senior Jake Flaggert with seven points and junior Jordan Reed with five points.
Seguin out-muscled and out-ran Lovejoy with its aggressive play that included several noteworthy dunks and blocked shots sprinkled throughout the game. It wasn't so much what the Leopards didn't do as it was what the Cougars did well.
"We knew they were super aggressive on the glass, so we were trying to block out," Herrema said. "The strength and physicality of the game didn't bother us. It was just their quickness and leaping ability that kind of hurt us."
The Cougars jumped out to a 6-0 lead, forcing a Lovejoy timeout little more than a minute into the game.
The Leopards stayed with their opponent, but Seguin's sheer athleticism made it difficult.
The Cougars had three dunks in just the first quarter.
Things would go from bad to worse for the Leopards in the first half of the second quarter as the Cougars capitalized off their physical play to gain even more breathing room. Seguin led by 12 late in the second before Lovejoy staged a run of its own to cut five points off the Cougars' lead for the 26-19 halftime score.
"In the first quarter we just had some nerves," Herrema said. "It took us a bit to adjust to their speed and once we did that, we settled in for a bit and had some good runs."
The game continued its seesaw nature as Seguin again built its lead back to more than 12 before Lovejoy scraped back to cut it to five late in the third.
"We knew they were going to be able to go on some runs because of their speed," Herrema said. "They had some things we thought we could attack and we had some good looks going the other way. That back-and-forth style is the nature of the game this late in the year."
The Cougars took a 35-27 advantage into the final frame.
The game was one of constant momentum swings and the Cougars had their fourth-quarter swing last longer than the Leopards' most recent run as Seguin again gradually distanced itself from Lovejoy with a double-digit lead. The Cougars controlled the tempo the rest of the way to secure the 49-35 victory and a spot at the Region II Tournament in Garland while ending Lovejoy's playoff run.
Filling out the ledger for the Leopards were a trio of seniors with Cameron Knight (four), Elias Olvera (two) and Chris Ford (one) all scoring points.
"This senior class, they hung tough," Herrema said. "They battled all night. This is a tight group of kids. There's no animosity, no selfishness on this team and I couldn't ask for a better group to coach."
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