The Kingwood Mustangs boys basketball team prepared for the postseason with a thrilling 45-38 overtime victory against No. 6 state-ranked Atascocita. It was a fitting way to celebrate Senior Night with Kingwood having already clinched a playoff spot, improving to 21-10 on the season and 11-4 in District 22-6A play.
The Mustangs made 10 free throws in overtime to turn back their arch rivals, who rallied from a 14-point deficit to send the game into an extra frame. Kingwood led 18-8 at the half, controlling the tempo while dictating the pace.
Walker Blaine hit the Mustangs' lone field goal in overtime, erasing Atascocita's 34-33 lead, the Eagles' only advantage of the game. He then completed the three-point play with the first of Kingwood's long string of free throws that put the game on ice.
Billy Gould opened the scoring with a three-pointer and Nick Neuman added a field goal for a 5-0 lead and the Mustangs were off and running. Gould added another three-pointer and Jake Nichols followed with one of his own to lift Kingwood to an 11-6 lead after one quarter.
Gould scored and converted a three-point play to extend the lead to 16-8 before Demi Areola and Nick Luckett hit free throws to make it a 10-point lead at the break. An early second-half field goal by Luckett gave the Mustangs a 20-8 lead and Tommy Neuman scored to make it 26-12. C.J. Nunn talllied Kingwood's final points of the third quarter with a field goal and the Mustangs carried a 28-21 lead into the fourth period.
That's when the Eagles made their run, narrowing the gap to 28-25 early in the fourth quarter. Neuman tacked on a field goal and free throw to boost the lead back up to 31-25, but five consecutive points by the Eagles sliced the Mustangs' lead to 31-30.
Blaine scored Kingwood's final points of the fourth quarter and the teams headed to overtime tied 33-33. Luckett hit five free throws in overtime, Blaine added three more and Gould contributed two more as the Mustangs pulled away.
The Mustangs closed the regular season on Tuesday when they visited Sam Rayburn.