Deer Park’s second-half struggles lead to loss
LEAGUE CITY - Surrendering an average of 48 points in a basketball game shouldn’t be derailing a high school team.
But as Deer Park’s varsity painfully learned again Saturday, that average can and will trip up a club.
Second-half struggles by Deer Park’s offense opened the door for Clear Creek to rally from an 11-point intermission deficit as the Wildcats escaped the George Carlisle Fieldhouse with a 49-47 non-district win.
Scoring just one bucket and canning 2-of-4 from the foul line in the fourth period was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Or was it the Deer Park defense’s back?
The defense for the most part did its job and the rebounding work under the defensive glass was good, but it was slim pickings as far as offensive contributions were concerned.
Trailing 43-37 through three periods, Clear Creek, 4-0, scored seven of its 12 points in the final stanza directly off Deer Park turnovers, another sign that an offense is ailing.
In knocking down five goals to Deer Park’s one in the fourth period, Clear Creek’s fifth one proved to be the difference maker as Maurice Pinnock’s 3-point goal from the left side and off a skip pass with 25 seconds remaining created a 49-45 advantage.
Deer Park’s Akeem Dawson scored the team’s only fourth-period field goal to create the final score with under 20 seconds to play. Then when Creek missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation at the foul line with 7.9 seconds remaining, the door was ajar for some last-second Deer Park heroics.
Brad Milliorn tried to fill the role with a surging drive to the hoop from the right side but in his way was Hunter Smith, who successfully drew the whistle for a charge with 1.2 seconds to play.
“Hunter does everything that you can ask for in a player. He just does all the little things right to help us win games. He may not shoot the ball that well or doing this very well, but he’s going to make other winning plays. He’s a three-year starter so he’s had a lot of experience on making plays like taking a charge,” Clear Creek head coach Wes Bryan said.
Terry Anderson led the Deer with 14 points, while Tristan Wright scored 10 and the duo of Andrew Madrigal and Christian Aguilar netted nine each. Milliorn was like Smith. In foul trouble and his shot was off so the senior helped in other areas by collecting assists, rebounds and taking charges.
Smith finished with 11 points and Pinnock scored eight. Tieras Barron led Creek in second-half field goals with four.
A turning point in the fourth period arrived after Clear Creek consumed all 11 points and was on top 44-43. After the Deer were called for a double dribble violation with 6:02 left, Creek went to a four- corners stall.
But it backfired when Madrigal intercepted a pass, eventually sending Wright to the free-throw line with 4:17 remaining. After sinking 1-of-2, a Terry Anderson rebound under the defensive glass put the Deer in position for a go-ahead score.
But another turnover at the worst possible time paved the way for a Calen Anderson bucket off a Barron pass and the Deer were never able to tie the game again.
Now 5-3, Deer Park’s three losses has seen the Deer yield just an average of 48 points (46, 50, 49).
“Deer Park’s a great program. They’re the first team we faced this year that played all man (man-to-man). Hopefully, our guys understand that we’ve got to work on that to get ready for the tournament next week here,” Bryan said.