Going for three!

Cole Armstrong hits the first of his three, three-point FG’s in the second half.

The Rockport-Fulton High School (RFHS) Pirate basketball team came away with a big win over the West Oso Bears 49-46 Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Oso.

RFHS moves to 2-0 in district play with an overall record of 16-6.

The game was a tight, contested matchup and up until the last seven seconds of the game, looked to be heading into overtime. However, with the game tied at 46-all and RFHS holding the last possession of the game, Cole Armstrong hit the game winning three-point field goal (FG) to lift the Pirates over the Bears. RFHS Head Boys Basketball Coach Damien Bates said it’s been a long time coming since arriving in 2017.

“It’s about two and a half years important,” said Bates. “The boys executed the defensive game plan well. We struggled to score a little bit, but we gave ourselves a chance to win it and when you do that, sometimes you can get lucky and hit big shots at the end of the game.”

In the first quarter, the Bears took an early lead hitting a couple shots from long range while the Pirates tried to control the athleticism of the Bears in the paint. Tyson Cox took control for RFHS offensively and finished on multiple drives to the basket. By the end of the first, Cox had already scored 10 points, putting RFHS ahead 14-12.

In the second, the Pirates were limited in their opportunities to score as Oso kept the ball away from RFHS offensively. However, with the Bears seemingly having no defensive answer for Cox or Konnor McMahon, Oso was forced to foul them. Cox and McMahon went 8-10 on free throws combined and scored the only points of the quarter for RFHS. The Pirates went into the half trailing 23-22.

In the third, the RFHS offense had a highly efficient quarter with McMahon and Cox leading the charge in taking the lead away from Oso. Meanwhile, the Bears struggled heavily on offense. Oso missed numerous shots and struggled to find good looks against the Pirate defense. Oso also struggled inside as the defensive presence of Garrett Loudermilk helped clog the paint. In RFHS’ last possession, Armstrong hit his first three of the game to put the score at 35-32 to conclude the quarter.

In the fourth, both teams battled and hit shot after shot in response to one another. Cox and McMahon continued their strong play, finishing on shots to keep the score close. After Oso hit its second three-point FG in the quarter, Armstrong drained another three to give RFHS a three-point lead. Oso began to find more success in the paint and put RFHS in some foul trouble, going 6-10 at the line. However, the four missed free attempts proved critical for Oso as RFHS remained tied with the Bears in the final seconds.

After a timeout, RFHS held the final possession with seven seconds remaining. Armstrong inbounded to Cox, who drew a double team. As the double team collapsed on Cox, he flipped it back to Armstrong and ran free past half court. Oso was late to recover back to Armstrong as he dribbled to the arc. Nevertheless, as Armstrong got close enough to the three-point line, he took his shot in stride and hit nothing but net at the buzzer for the win.

“As a senior (Armstrong), I tell him, ‘if you’re open, you got to shoot the ball; you got to have confidence the next one is going in,’” said Bates. “And he kept shooting, and it’s falling. And this is the perfect time for it to be falling right now.”

Cox led RFHS in scoring with 25 points.

McMahon scored 15 points.

And Armstrong, who went 3-4 from beyond the arc, finished with nine points.

Cox, MacMahon, and Armstrong were the only players who scored for RFHS.

RFHS played Orange Grove Friday, Jan. 10. They play again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at home against Sinton.

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