MCALLEN — Junior Elijah Sexton led five Wildcats in double figures with 19 points as New Braunfels Christian opened its 2019-20 TAPPS Class 3A playoff run by defeating South Texas Christian 80-58 in McAllen Tuesday night.

Sexton added 11 rebounds and four assists, while juniors Hayden Holcombe and Levi Rostedt each netted 12 points and seniors Hunter Holly and Jordan Mesa added 11 points each. Holcombe chipped in nine assists and two steals, while Rostedt had seven rebounds. Mesa posted six assists, while Holly had four assists and three steals.

“The scoring balance was nice to see as we did share the ball against their 1-3-1 zone,” NBCA head coach Tony Brubaker said. 

The Wildcats (22-13) led 19-16 after the first period but exploded with a 20-5 second quarter and put the game out of reach by half at 46-21. NBCA’s advantage reached 32 points late in the third at 66-32.

“I thought offensively we were sharp most of the night and made shots,” Brubaker said. “But, defensively, we struggled in the second half putting our foot down and finishing strong. We did not do that.”

The Wildcats shot 60 percent from the floor, including 8-of-17 from distance, and outrebounded the Panthers 35-25. NBCA also forced 16 turnovers and held South Texas Christian to a 40% shooting night. 

NBCA will face Tomball Rosehill Saturday at 4 p.m. in Fayetteville in the regional final. The winner advances to next week’s state tournament in Waco.

“We have our work cut out for us with Rosehill,” Brubaker said. “They are a very good team that won a tough district 6-3A this year. They have great balance and are a rugged defensive team.”

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