LEVELLAND—Jordan Brangers knew he was close.
Ranked ninth in the country in scoring, the sophomore from Radcliff, Kentucky needed just four 3-pointers to break Marshall Henderson's school record of 128 3s in a season. Tack on the title of Sophomore Night in the Texans' regular-season finale against Western Texas, Brangers was ready to get to work.
And that he did.
Brangers knocked down three treys in the first eight minutes of the contest, the record setter coming at the 11:24 mark of the first half as the Texans capped off a perfect 28-0 regular season including a 16-0 mark in the WJCAC with a 109-76 dismantling of Western Texas College on Thursday night.
"It's huge," Brangers said when asked about breaking Henderson's record. "All summer, I spent countless hours in the gym because I wanted to be better than Marshall, or just as good. Coach Green preached to me that Marshall spent countless hours in the gym shooting as many shots as possible, so for me to break that record is a very special accomplishment."
Brangers finished the first half with 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the perimeter. Jahlil Tripp scored 13 of his season-high 26 points in the first half while also racking up 13 boards in the contest. Raquan Mitchell closed out his final game at the Texan Dome with 17 points as the Colorado State commit shot 6-of-10 from the floor in 21 minutes. Grantham Gillard bucketed 16 points and five rebounds for South Plains and Roberto Gallinat capped off his final game at the Dome with 14 points and four boards.
"I just came out and played hard, and we had a lot of motivation coming into tonight's game," Tripp said. "I had a rough week of practice and wasn't feeling like myself, but I bounced back and played well today. We wanted to show them what we're about. At their place they took us into overtime, but tonight at our place our shots were falling and there was nothing they could do about it."
The Texans used a 62 percent shooting mark in the front half to jump out to a 62-41 lead at the midway point. South Plains knocked down 10 of 19 3s before the break and held the Westerners(20-9, 12-4) to a 33 percent shooting mark in the first half.
"Jordan hit a couple shots and we were very active early," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "We were attacking and stayed very active early on, and we came out of the shoot guns blazing. This is the way we've played all year long. We have a bunch of good shooters. Webster, who they backed off of, buried one early, and it's very frustrating to game plan for somebody only to have some other guys hit shots and knock down 3s. I feel their pain because it's happened to us before as well."
South Plains continued to pour it on in the second half shooting 51 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. Tripp and Gillard combined for 23 points in the back half as the Texans opened up their lead to 82-52 on a 30-foot 3-ball from Brangers with 10:23 left. Gillard sent the Texans past the century mark for the 15th time this season with a trey from the top of the key with under four minutes remaining.
"I'm really proud of the way we bounced back," Green said. "They're a good team and they gave us all we wanted down at their spot and caught our attention. We started looking down the road knowing they're going to come in the last regular game of the season, and it could be a great win for them and a horrible loss for us. I was pretty proud the way we came out tonight.
"This is a very good league and you have to bring it every night, and it's a real testament to our players. When we went to Clarendon, and we went to Frank Phillips and New Mexico Military, they didn't let down and have been pretty single-minded most of the season. I think this team has as good a chance as any team that I've had. Two that won it, another that had a missed free throw that would have won it, and this team has a lot of weapons. I would really hate to prepare for all the spots on the floor where we can knock down shots."
With a perfect regular season in the books, the Texans will kick off the post-season on Thursday, March 9 at Frenship High School's Tiger Pit in the Region V tournament against Hill College at 8 p.m.
Photo Credit: Brad Tollefson, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.