Bucks beat Panthers, bury Eagles

Alpine's Jayden Canaba is one of several Bucks who have noticeably improved since last season. He scored nine points against Pecos on Jan. 14. Photo by Felipe Fierro

District time has arrived for the Fightin’ Buck boys basketball team. Alpine hopes to be right in the thick of the 2020 fight after contending for a title last year, and sharing one with Crane in 2018.

With a 13-4 overall record, the Bucks have won six in a row heading into their matchup in Kermit at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17.

Last Friday the Bucks made the short trip to Fort Stockton for a rematch with the Panthers. This time the site was the giant event center adjacent to their high school. Despite a fourth quarter comeback by the home team, Alpine held on for their second two-point victory in eight days against Fort Stockton, 49-47.

Junior Brady Crump led all scorers with 17 points. Two years of junior varsity work has paid off for Crump who is now routinely contributing double-figures to the score sheet. Frankie Ontiveros added three three-pointers, while Isaiah Nuñez had eight points.

Back in the friendly and simpler confines of home, the Fightin’ Bucks hosted Pecos on Tuesday in their final tune-up before District play begins on Jan 17.

Crump got the crowded student section going with two early three-pointers. The Eagles hung around during the first period, and only trailed 13-11 at the buzzer, but that is as close as they would come to catching the Bucks.

Jayden Canaba, Ontiveros, and Nuñez all contributed from beyond the arc in the second quarter. Canaba and Aiden Morrissey also had success driving to the hoop, and Alpine was in control by halftime with a 37-14 lead. They went on to win 62-35, with Nuñez leading the way with 13 points.

As the waning minutes ticked away, a student loudly asked the home faithful, “What time is it?”

The answer from the student body was, “It’s Miller time!”

Shortly thereafter, their wish came true as the senior occupying the last spot on the bench, Justin Miller, came in to play the final minutes of the game.

His shot attempts didn’t drop, but the Purple pupils did get to erupt when another senior reserve, Bryon Garrett, scored. With all the potential anxiety that awaits the Bucks over the next 10 games, the students made sure to appreciate the players who are often forgotten.

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