TUSCUMBIA — Even with his team struggling to find its shooting touch in its season opener, first-year Brooks coach Bright Wright wasn’t about to rein in shooting guard Jacob Richardson.
Richardson didn’t make him sorry, rattling in a 3-pointer from the left corner during a game-icing fourth-quarter run in a 57-45 win Monday night at Deshler.
“We were a little rusty shooting the ball,” said Wright, who got a win in his first game as head coach. “But Jacob shoots it real well in practice. He’s got a nice shot. I don’t mind him shooting it when he’s open.”
Brooks made 15 of its 42 shots from the field and 4 of 14 from 3-point range.
Richardson’s 3 represented the only of his 11 points scored in the second half. Off a kick-out pass along the base line, he got off the shot over a closing defender. The ball rattled up off the rim, came down and caught iron once more before it fell through.
That gave Brooks a 49-42 lead with 2:38 to play, its largest lead since an 8-point advantage with 4:54 left in the second quarter.
The shot was part of a 17-4 run that turned a 38-all tie with 6:30 remaining into a 15-point Lions lead.
“I was feeling tired the whole game, but I just finally started feeling good and got focused there at the end,” Richardson said. “I shot it and it rolled in. Kind of a lucky roll, but it went in. That’s all that matters.”
Skyler Beck led Brooks with 12 points, including going 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
That was an area the Lions exploited, making 12 of 14 foul shots in the final period, while Deshler went 0-of-7 from the line in the second half.
Even without 6-foot-5 post player Paden Smith, who is out of the season with a torn ACL, Brooks also controlled the glass, boxing out well on defensive rebounds to prevent second-chance shots for the Tigers.
Thomas Gamble scored a game-high 13 points for Deshler, which trailed by as much as 24-16 in the second quarter. The Tigers then mounted a 10-1 run, powered by quick drives to the basket, and led by as much as 29-27 on Gamble’s 3-pointer 16 seconds into the third quarter.
They led 34-33 with 2:21 left in the quarter, but not again after that.
Jack Singletary added 11 points for Brooks.
“They really killed us on the rebounds,” Deshler coach Brian Pounders said. “They’re bigger than us, but we just didn’t box out. We think we can out-athlete everybody. When they’re 6-6 and we’re 6-1, you can’t do that. We’re not going to get any bigger. We might be the smallest team in Alabama, but we’re fairly quick. Right now, we’re just not on the same page. That will come with time.”
Deshler 42, Brooks 41: Julia Burton pulled down a clutch offensive rebound, was fouled and hit both ensuing free throws to give Deshler a 1-point lead with 29.2 seconds to play.
Brooks then couldn’t convert on three offensive trips, missing three free-throw attempts and two jumpers just before the final buzzer.
Keyonda Mason led all scorers with 13 points for Deshler. She added six rebounds, five steals and five blocked shots.
Britt McCormick (12) and Deanna Thompson (11) scored in double digits for Brooks, which trailed 28-25 after three quarters but led 41-39 on McCormick’s jumper with 50 seconds left in the game.
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @bappster on Twitter.