by WES FERGUSON
The Lobos’ star point guard had been quiet all day: a steal here, an assist there.
But with the fourth quarter getting under way, and his team trailing by a bucket, De’Andre Carson came alive.
Dancing around defenders and dribbling down the clock, the Lehman High junior sank 9 of 10 free throws and scored 15 points in the final frame as the Lobos stung Leander Vandegrift 54-49 on Monday in Kyle.
“He understands when he has to do what he has to do,” Lehman head coach Thomas Acker said of Carson. “Down the stretch we obviously want the ball in his hands. He’s a great free throw shooter, he’s a great primary ball handler. He has a feel for the game.”
Carson finished with a game-leading 21 points and three steals. “I think I started off kind of slow and then I picked it up,” he said.
Lehman forward JaMael Windom added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Lobos, who improve to 2-1. Vandegrift (1-2) was paced by Nick Florence with 13 points.
In the first half, the Lobos used a full-court press to fluster the Vipers, extending their lead to 23-16 when Manny Santibanez pulled up from his dribble to sink a floating jump shot with three minutes left in the second quarter. But then the Vipers converted a spate of offensive rebounds into second-chance points to pull to within two, 24-22, at the half.
The teams traded baskets for much of the third quarter. A Vandegrift three-pointer by Cody Witt gave the Vipers a 39-35 lead, but on the next play Carson found Windom down low. The big man turned his defender, dribbled twice and flipped in the bucket to draw the score to 37-39 at the end of the third.
Carson owned the fourth quarter. On a fast break to start the period, he traveled the length of the court, spun past his defender and lofted an underhanded layup while drawing a foul. His made free throw gave the Lobos a lead they never relinquished.
Lehman plays again at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at home against Austin McCallum.