The Gainesville Leopards’ 78-58 road loss to Aubrey on Tuesday, Jan. 29 dropped the Leopards’ district record to 0-6, but the final score obscured how close the game actually was.
Gainesville actually had the lead in the third quarter before the Chaps took over the rest of the game and the Leopards only trailed 42-38 at halftime.
“It was back and forth,” Gainesville head coach Jeff Wolf said. “They started out up 5-0, but we tied up at 5-5. The first half, we shot the ball pretty good. We shot 50 percent from the field and we hit four threes in the first half and we were shooting the ball really well. They had a player that was 5-for-8 in the first half on threes so both teams were shooting the ball pretty good.”
The Leopards were led by 19 points from Traylen Shinault, who was 7-of-15 from the field along with three 3-pointers.
Gainesville’s usual leading scorer Tre Lawson struggled offensively as he want 4-of-16 from the field for just 12 points. Robyn Hardin also added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Wolf said Lawson is usually on point, but recognized that he struggled against Aubrey.
“Trey didn’t play the fourth quarter because he felt like his ankles were bothering him,” Wolf said. “There’s a lot of attention on him for the other teams. I mean he’s still averaging 16 points a game in district and is still our leading scorer. There were a few shots that were forced but overall, he was trying to put the team on his shoulders. He made some big shots, but just didn’t have a good night.”
The Leopards were outrebounded 30-28 and had 12 turnovers in the game, but they had their outside shooting touch going as they were 7-of-18 from 3-point range.
As for how things got away from them in the second half, there were a few crucial moments that led to some quick swings in points for Aubrey.
“We missed a few shots and then they leaked out,” Wolf said. “As a matter of fact, we actually outscored them in the third before they went on a big run. We took a few timeouts in there and it just didn’t go our way.”
The Leopards will host Celina, which is undefeated in district play, on Friday, Feb. 1 in their final home game of the season.
Wolf said it will be a challenge, but he thinks the Leopards can play with Celina.
“Celina has the best scorer the district, who scored 30-plus points on us in the first half the last time we played them,” Wolf said. “They also have a guy that’s about 6-8 and they’ve got another guy about 6-6, so they have a lot of size.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip