A wild run-and-gun shootout between the Fox and Alex boys was settled on the free throw line Thursday night. Going into the last eight minutes tied at 39, Fox got to the stripe late and made their shots to pull away for a 64-55 home win.

The Foxes jumped out to an 18-6 first-quarter lead behind some cold Alex shooting, six points from Jeremy Stewart and four each from Random Sims and Kent Smart.

After twin Brent Smart nailed a three on Fox’s first possession of the second quarter, Alex seniors Nate Adams and Justin Milligan ignited a furious 14-0 run. Adams scored five, Alex Alexander, Wayne Heffington, Brandon Carnes and Steve Brooksher each scored two and John Zeiset added one as the Horns turned the heat up on both ends.

The swarming Horn defense shut Fox out until Trent Beaird’s putback with 33 seconds left in the half sent them to the locker room thankful for a 23-20 lead.

After the breather, both teams came out running again and both seemed to leave the defenses on the benches. Alex won the quarter 19-16 behind three deuces by Milligan, a Carnes free throw and two treys each by Heffington and Zach Boyd. Fox spread it around with Stewart pacing then with eight then a foul at the buzzer put Jordan Ervin on the line to shoot a pair with no time showing. He hit both while everyone else huddled to tie it at 39.

After scoreless second and third quarters, Sims stepped up in the fourth for Fox, scoring eight points to keep them in it. Adams buried a three then fed Jake Johnson for an old-fashioned on an inbound to tie it back up at 45 with five minutes left before Fox ran off six unanswered to separate.

Johnson scored off penetration again, Heffington kissed a floater off the glass and Alexander hit two free throws to close to 53-51 with just over a minute left but Fox broke the press, Ervin scored then picked off a pass and outletted to Brent Smart for an old-fashioned three and a 58-51 lead.

Milligan hit down low courtesy of Adams’ dish to get within five with forty seconds left and Alex had to foul to stop the clock.

Kent Smart hit both ends of the double bonus with 34 ticks left, Dalton Smith hit both of his with 24 left, Adams went end-to-end for Alex with 19 showing, Smith got back to the line with 15 seconds left for one more free throw and Stewart finished it with another free throw with six seconds left after Adams’ three missed.

Six guys finished in double figures. Adams led Alex with a dozen and Milligan and Heffington had 10 each. Stewart had a game-high 15 and Sims and Brent Smart finished with 12 each.

Alexander and Boyd finished with six each for the Longhorns, Johnson had five, Carnes added three, Zeiset had one and Brooksher had two before leaving the game in the second quarter with a leg injury.

With the loss, the Horns drop to 3-5 to close out the first half of the season. Next up after the break will be a visit from Verden’s Tigers on Friday January 4.

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