H-P Sports Writer

SLOCUM — The Slocum Mustangs turned the ball over 30 times and got out rebounded 20-17 by Neches Thursday night in the Mustang’s opening game of the Slocum Tournament.

That proved to be the difference as Slocum fell to Neches 94-65.

Byron Scott led a group of five Tiger players scoring in double-digits with 22 points. Scott shot 85 percent from the floor, hitting 6-of-7 attempts and 77 percent from the free-throw line making 10-13.

The Tigers shot 75 percent from the free-throw line as a team, making 33-44.

“We shot the ball well from the free-throw line tonight,” Neches head coach Darren Cook said. “In a game with a lot of fouls that sometimes can make the difference.”

The Mustangs had a total 27 fouls called on them the entire game. The Mustangs had five players with three fouls or more at the start of the fourth quarter, with Bradly Minton fouling out in the fourth quarter, picking up four fouls in the second half.

Neches had 22 fouls called against them and had Cole Bettes and Martrice Aurther fouled out late in the fourth quarter.

“We were a little more in tune than they had tonight,” Cook said. “It was a very physical game and I thought we played well.”

Tate Harris scored 19 points while Aurther scored 18 points to aid Neches into taking a 49-31 lead at halftime.

Slocum’s 13 first half turnovers allowed the Tigers to have 15 more field goal attempts and connected on 17-31 in the first half.

The Mustangs continued to struggle with turnovers in the second half, which a hot-shooting Mustang team could not overcome.

Slocum was led by Otis Lackey’s 21 points while William Johnson added 15 and Jared Lane had 11 points in the loss.

Neches’ Cole Bettes had a game-high seven rebounds and one block. Justin Todd came off the bench to add 17 points and six rebounds.

With the loss, Slocum will play Douglass at noon today in the first round of the consolation bracket. Neches will play LaPoynor at 8 p.m. in the semifinals of the championship bracket.

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