Moments after his team was eliminated from the playoff chase following a 79-57 defeat to league co-leader Clemens, New Braunfels head coach David Brawner summed up life in District 26-6A in just 10 words.
“It’s a great district,” Brawner said with a smirk, “and I hate being in it.”
The Unicorns (21-14, 5-8) entered Friday’s home finale against the Buffaloes needing to win their final two regular season games and have East Central lose its final two to have a shot at the postseason. But Clemens (23-10, 11-2) refused to play along, as the visitors used a 13-0 run in the second quarter to build a comfortable cushion.
“We had a rash of turnovers for about a minute and a half and all of a sudden (our deficit) goes from being five to being 18 or something,” Brawner said. “That stretch in the second quarter was the difference in the game.”
New Braunfels came out strong in the opening period by taking a 7-3 lead and limiting the Buffaloes’ chances on the offensive end. Clemens caught fire from beyond the arc, though, and drilled five 3-pointers to grab a 20-15 edge by the end of the period.
The Buffs extended their advantage to 16 at intermission and later led by as many as 23 in the second half.
Fernando Hinojosa, Steve McGehee and Adam Boyce spurred a 6-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to help the Unicorns pull within 17, but Clemens’ William Jones and Gary Wafford delivered the dagger with a flurry of 3s.
New Braunfels’ seniors were treated to a final curtain call with 24 seconds remaining, as Hinojosa, Boyce, McGehee, Ethan Duliban and Collin Presley left the court to a chorus of cheers from the home fans.
“I always try to do that — let them get that last standing ovation,” Brawner said. “It’s a great group of kids that I’m going to miss.”
Hinojosa and Boyce each supplied 11 points in the setback, while McGehee chipped in nine and Mason Pullen provided seven. The Buffaloes were paced by Wofford (18 points), Joey Teske (15 points), Raymond Roscoe (15 points) and Kavon Booker (12 points).
The Unicorns are scheduled to close the 2018-19 campaign this coming Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game against Smithson Valley in Spring Branch.