By BRYAN URBACH
There's a saying in basketball that if you can make your free throws, you have a great chance at winning the game.
Slocum's varsity boys team experienced this on Tuesday night as it had ample opportunities to make free throws in the second half to put away the Leon Cougars, and it did 56-41.
The Mustangs made a total of 21 free throws in the game on about 40 attempts. Slocum coach Bret Cockerham said after the game that he was proud of his team's ability to take advantage of the free throw shooting opportunities and make Leon pay for fouling them.
“It makes it hard for people to come back on you when you make so many free throws late in a game,” Cockerham said. “Tonight, we made a lot of free throws, and we did a good job of playing strong. I'm really proud of the kids; they did a good job.”
Both teams got off to an incredibly slow start as the first basket of the game wasn't made until there was 3:46 left in the first quarter. Slocum was able to outscore Leon 8-6 in the first quarter, though.
In the second quarter, things started picking up for Slocum. The team got out to a good lead and was able to hold off the Leon attack to take a 23-13 lead heading into halftime.
Slocum's Parker Wilson and Jace Rains-Love each finished with 16 points to lead the Mustangs. Rains-Love finished the game with eight made free throws and Wilson finished with five free throws made.
Slocum's Connor Dickson and Ethan Becton also had solid games, scoring 10 and six points respectively. The two also made several hustle plays throughout the game to help give Slocum the defense it needed to win.
Cockerham said he was proud of his team's effort in the game and was glad to come away from the match with a win.
“They (Slocum) played smart tonight,” Cockerham said. “They played hard and played good defense. We held them to 41 points, and when we got the lead, we were able to keep scoring by spreading out the floor. We took care of the ball late in the game and didn't turn the ball over that much.”
Slocum's next game is on Friday night against Grapeland at the Sandies' gymnasium. The Slocum Lady Mustangs will likely take the floor just before the boys squad around 6 p.m.