CLOSING WITH AUTHORITY: Opp earns 1st regional berth in team history

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Opp Bobcats used a huge second half to knock off the Houston Academy Raiders 73-47 in the Class 3A sub-regionals in Opp on Tuesday night.

Houston Academy went up 5-0 to start the contest.

The Bobcats struggled to get much going on offense before Jacob King dropped in the first bucket with 4:40 left in the first period.

Erik Matthews, Bryan Matthews, Caleb Hinton and King each chipped in points, but Opp trailed 16-12 after one period of play.

Opp got a 3-pointer from Logan Ross to open the second period.

Jaydon Lacey came on strong for the Bobcats in the second period as he picked up a pair of baskets including one just before halftime.

At halftime, Opp trailed 26-24.

Houston Academy went up 31-26 to start the second half, but then the Bobcats caught fire.

B. Matthews came up with a big basket and then back-to-back scores from Hinton gave Opp their first lead of the game at 32-31.

It was a lead that the Bobcats wouldn’t relinquish.

B. Matthews came up with a big 3-pointer late in the third period that helped the Bobcats take a 41-35 lead into the final frame.

Opp’s offense was firing on all cylinders as they entered the final period.

Lacey was on fire as he knocked down eight points in the fourth period.

Opp refused to let up as they stretched the lead to 20 points.

Down big with time running out, Houston Academy began fouling Opp to send them to the line.

Opp made the Raiders pay for this decision as they went 14-for-19 from the free-throw line in the fourth to clinch a 73-47 victory.

“I tell you what I’m so proud of them,” Opp head coach Willie Edwards said of his team. “They’ve got a refuse to lose attitude. They keep fighting, keep punching back and great things happen. My whole sermon has been to just continue to fight hard. They continue to fight hard so I’m proud of this group of guys.”

Opp’s biggest key to victory was a 32-point fourth period that slammed the door shut on Houston Academy.

“We have a saying, ‘Go eat on three,’” Edwards said. “I said at halftime, ‘All this stuff about go eat, now it’s time to go eat,’ and the guys came out in that fourth quarter and shut them down and went on a run. I’m so proud of them.”

Hinton led the Bobcats with 21 points.

B. Matthews finished with 13 points, Lacey added 12 points and E. Matthews tacked on 11 points.

With the win, the Bobcats advance to the Class 3A Southeast Regionals at the Garrett Colisium on Saturday in Montgomery.

Opp will play Bullock County at 4:30 p.m., on Saturday.