ALEX — It was not the shortest path to a district title, but it was a path the Alex Longhorns were able to complete.
Alex was just one loss away from elimination in Friday’s first-round game of the Class A district tournament in Alex and trailed by 12 after one quarter. The Longhorns eventually defeated the Waurika Eagles 49-41 to advance to Saturday’s district title game against the Fox Foxes.
With a regional spot locked up and no chance of being eliminated Saturday, the Longhorns became the first team to beat Fox this season. They secured the district title with a 52-48 victory over Class A’s No. 14 team.
Against Waurika on Friday, the Longhorns only scored two points in the first quarter but got an offensive spark in the second quarter. Kash Boatwright scored Alex’s first eight points of the second quarter to help the Longhorns stay close.
The Longhorns trailed 18-15 at halftime, but they took the lead in the third quarter after a Jon Fitzsimmons 3-pointer. His basket gave the Longhorns a 22-20 advantage over the Eagles.
Alex surpassed its first-half point total in the third quarter, scoring 16 points to lead 31-29 entering the final quarter.
Clutch free throws from Brycen Otey and Chase Byrne helped Alex clinch the victory. Boatwright ended the game with 19 points for the Longhorns.
Tatton Anderson’s big game helped the Longhorns hand the Foxes their first loss of the season. Anderson scored 14 points in the first half and 18 points in the team’s victory.
Anderson scored six points in the first quarter and helped the Longhorns build a 12-9 lead over the Foxes after the first quarter. He scored eight more points in the second quarter, hitting a pair of triples to help the Longhorns lead by one at halftime.
Alex held a 29-28 lead going to the second half.
Trailing by three entering the fourth quarter, Fox was able to tie the game at 38 points apiece. But like they did so often throughout the game, the Longhorns answered. They responded with a 13-4 scoring run to take a 51-42 lead before the Foxes hit two triples to get within three.
With the win over Fox, Alex enters the regional tournament two losses away from elimination and will play its regional tournament games in Alex. Alex will take on the Canute Trojans at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday.
Other district results
In Class A, the Verden Tigers defeated Ringling 58-53 in Canute on Friday to avoid elimination. The Tigers suffered a 68-52 loss to Canute in Saturday's district title game.
Verden will play Fox in a game scheduled for a 3 p.m. start in Alex on Thursday.
The Cyril Pirates are district champions in Class A. After earning a first-round bye, Cyril defeated Central High 70-41 at home Saturday and will play at Central High on Thursday before moving to Alex.
Cyril will play Geronimo in its next game, scheduled for an 8 p.m. start.
In Class B, the Cement Bulldogs avoided elimination with a 77-40 victory over Gracemont on Friday at Lookeba-Sickles. The Bulldogs suffered a 66-47 loss to Lookeba-Sickles on Saturday.
Cement will play Corn Bible Academy on Thursday at Granite before moving to Chattanooga with a win. That game is set to start at 3 p.m. Thursday.