Panthers beat Sam Houston behind strong second half from Thomas

Dylan Thomas wasn’t playing like himself early Friday night, but he elevated his play when it mattered most.

The junior point guard led all scorers with 15 points, including 13 in the second half, to lead Paschal (10-13, 3-8 Dist. 4-6A) to a 47-39 victory on the road over Arlington Sam Houston (9-14, 5-6).

Thomas’ coach said his scoring explosion after the half came because he was playing with more energy.

“He looked a little tired in the first half. But whatever it was, he got his second wind,” Paschal head coach David Watson said. “He picked his aggression up. His decision-making got better, and he carried the weight.”

The point guard repeatedly attacked the paint in the second half, cutting through traffic and drawing contact to get to the foul line. He made 4 of 7 free throws on the night.

Paschal benefitted from a more aggressive approach on the defensive end as well. After staying conservative to start the game, the Panthers went into a full court press trailing 11-9 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. They even used traps in their half court defense.

The results were great for Paschal, which went on an 11-2 run to start the second quarter to go up 20-13. Junior guard Tyrik Price hit two 3-pointers to start the run. He finished the night with 14 points, 6 rebounds and a block in a performance that came as no surprise to his coach.

“He’s one of the best players in the state of Texas, point-blank,” Watson said.

Price and Thomas both came up clutch in the fourth quarter. Trailing 35-34 after three quarters, the two guards combined for all 13 of the Panthers’ points in the final eight minutes.

The Texans managed just two field goals in the fourth quarter as they were outscored 13-4. Marco Washington led Sam Houston in scoring with 12 points while grabbing 5 boards and 3 steals. Darrell Dorsey added 11 points and 3 rebounds.

It was a refreshing win for the Panthers, who lost a close game in overtime to Arlington Lamar Tuesday night.

“We felt like we gave one away [Tuesday],” Watson said. “But we’ve been playing a lot better basketball. Hopefully this continues…Hopefully the things we were doing tonight can carry forward.”