Allright! And I’ve used my allotted exclamation points before the end of paragraph one. The Llano High basketball Jackets, from Nov. 27-Dec. 1, conquered four foes in a row, two on a neutral court, one on the road. No, there were no 5As in the mix, but what I can say in a negative manner is on probation.
“We’re on a roll,” said Matthew Center, and that was a succinct summation of his 5-2 squad.
LHS 51, CL 38
Canyon Lake is a team the Jackets have not beaten since seemingly years ago when the home of the Hawks was a new school. This contest was Nov. 27, the first taste of work since the Thanksgiving break.
“In practice, I moved people around (positions),” declared head coach Aidan Callahan, “and we only had one day to learn.” Considering that, “the game went really well.”
The defining moment—or eight moments—was the third quarter when the Jackets outscored their guests 16-7. Isaac Hutto had 13 points, and 11 in Black and Orange contributed to the offensive column.
LHS 68, Brady 55
This win came in the San Saba tournament, Nov. 29, and it was the opener of a doubleheader for the Jackets.
Layton Rabb had 15 points, while Kohner Fogelberg added 13, and Ross Henry totaled 10—he hit three three-point field goals.
“We’re adapting to the new coach,” Rabb noted with a trace of a smile, as the coach pretended not to eavesdrop. “We’re living up to his expectations.”
LHS 68, SSaba 43
Llano put together a two-quarter package that will be one of the highlights of the season: 24 points in the second, and 26 followed in the third.
“We were not ready to play after the first period,” coach Cal advised. So, you presented some words of wisdom to right the ship? “In a round-about way, yes,” he responded.
All Fogelberg and Henry did was deliver by First Class, four threes each. The team marketed a robust dozen from long range. Kohner scored 22 points in the game; Rabb had 10, all in the second quarter.
“Those threes space the floor for the bigs,” Callahan explained.
LHS 64, Ingram 55
The triumph, Dec. 1, wrapped up the visit to San Saba.
The Jackets, down a point after eight minutes, hit 11 field goals in the second segment to lead 35-32 at the break of an entertaining offensive show.
Center scored 10 of his 22 in the second. “I was just trying to run the floor, get easy buckets,” he told me. He’ll learn: nothing’s easy. “Layton found me all night.”
No rejoinder to that. Two back-to-back assists by Rabb gave Llano an 18-16 lead, and it never trailed again.
Jai Bhakta also had an assist, a steal, and two field goals; Henry offered a three, and Hutto tallied six of his 14 points, as part of Llano’s construction of a 40-23 run to go up by 15 after three.
Back to Layton. The 6’5” junior had an unofficial guess of 15 rebounds. If that’s incorrect, simply substitute the words, a lot. “Everyone blocked out well,” he said. Yes, especially Rabb.
“Blocking out is the key to the game,” added Hutto, who cleaned off a pair of critical rebounds in the second half.
“We had never beaten Ingram since I’ve been in high school,” observed Center, a senior.
“Matt played great,” Callahan mentioned. “He’s changed positions three times. He’s now a five.” No, I didn’t understand that, either. It means forward, but no one says that anymore, because they’d rather say, “He plays the point, or he’s a shooting guard, or he’s a three, or a post.” The game is obviously passing me by.
“I’m pleased with where we’re at,” the coach emphasized, but, “we have to continue to get better; the competition will be tougher.”