MINERAL WELLS — Too many turnovers.
Cleburne (13-12, 2-1) had their opportunity to knock the Mineral Wells Rams off the top of the mountain on Friday, but 26 turnovers proved to be too much to overcome as the Yellow Jackets fell in District 6-4A play, 62-55.
“We played extremely hard and had a great opportunity to win,” Cleburne head coach Jeff Cody said. “But we had too many turnovers and Mineral Wells took advantage.”
Mineral Wells (23-2, 3-0) trailed for most of the game, but came to life in the fourth quarter, where it forced a number of Cleburne turnovers.
Down by just four points at halftime, Mineral Wells fell behind by 10 points during the third quarter as Cleburne’s Jacob Kelsey came out of the intermission on fire.
A pair of three-pointers and a couple of drives to the rack by the senior guard pushed the Yellow Jackets out to a 40-30 lead.
But the Rams battled back, going on a quarter-ending 11-3 surge.
Todd Ball scored in the post, while Caden Crawford added five points as Mineral Wells closed to within two heading into the fourth period, 43-41.
The Rams’ run continued during the opening moments of the fourth quarter, as Todd Ball brought the Mineral Wells’ faithful to their feet with a two-handed dunk, giving the Rams a 49-43 advantage.
Kelsey temporarily silenced the crowd with a three-pointer, but Mineral Wells scored eight of the next 12 points in the contest, most of which came from the foul line, to open up a 57-47 advantage.
However, Cleburne refused to go away.
Kelsey knocked down two more three-pointers and hit a driving layup, helping Cleburne get to within five points, 60-55.
However, the shots wouldn’t drop over the final 30 seconds for Cleburne, leaving the comeback just a little short.
But the game appeared to be in the Jackets’ hands early on.
Cleburne junior Field Reagan scored eight points in the opening quarter as the Yellow Jackets were up by as many as nine points before Kevin Harvey guided Mineral Wells back to within four points by the end of the frame, 14-10.
Harvey gave Mineral Wells its first lead of the contest about midway through the second quarter on a three-pointer, 23-22.
However, Cleburne closed out the frame with an 8-3 surge, taking a 30-26 lead into the intermission.
It seemed as if Cleburne were going to seal the deal in the third quarter, leading by as many as 10 points. But Mineral Wells fought back to get the win.
Cody thought his Yellow Jackets played as hard as they could and should have won the game.
“Our kids fought their guts out,” Cody said. “I hope our kids realize that we should’ve beaten Mineral Wells tonight. But we turned it over too much and Mineral Wells made the plays when they needed to.”
Michael Ball paced Mineral Wells with 18 points, while Todd Ball had 15 points, nine rebounds, four steals and four blocked shots. Harvey chipped in with 13 points and Crawford had nine points.
Kelsey was the lone Jacket in double figures, nailing six three-pointers en route to a season-high 31 points.
Cleburne hosts Joshua at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Mineral Wells 62, Cleburne 55
CLEBURNE (13-12, 2-1): Jacob Kelsey 31, Field Reagan 8, Nick Passalugo 5, Chance Rosser 4, Brent Kiel 3, Dustin West 2, Ethan Anderson 2.
MINERAL WELLS (23-2, 3-0): Michael Ball 18, Todd Ball 15, Kevin Harvey 13, Caden Crawford 9, Isaac Benavides 4, Noel Duesterhoft 2, Ben Jones 1.
Cleburne.....14 16 13 12—55
Mineral Wells...10 16 15 21—62
Halftime score: Cleburne 30, Mineral Wells 26. Total fouls: Cleburne 21, Mineral Wells 16. Fouled out: None. Three-point goals: Cleburne 7 (Kelsey 6, Rosser 1), Mineral Wells 1 (Harvey 1). Rebounds: Cleburne 39 (Kiel 11), Mineral Wells 26 (T. Ball 9). Assists: Cleburne 7 (Kelsey 2), Mineral Wells 12 (Harvey 5). Steals: Cleburne 4 (Kelsey 2), Mineral Wells 12 (T. Ball, M. Ball 4). Blocked shots: Cleburne 0, Mineral Wells 6 (T. Ball 4). Technical fouls: Mineral Wells bench. Turnovers: Cleburne 26, Mineral Wells 11.
Daniel Green can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2334, or firstname.lastname@example.org
MINERAL WELLS — Too many turnovers.