Stillwater Stars Fall in Opening Round of The Basketball Tournament
The story going into the game was the Stillwater Stars playing with only seven guys. Former Cowboy star Markel Brown tweaked his ankle and two members of the team tested positive for COVID-19. After a strong start for the No. 21 seed Stillwater Stars, they simply ran out of gas down the stretch as Team Brotherly Love turned up the pressure and ran away with a 87-71 win eliminating the Stillwater Stars.
"It was a tough battle for us with seven guys, literally having to come together Monday night because of our situation and we held on for a long time, we just had the bad stretch in the third quarter,” Bryndon Manzer said after the game. “We knew we had to be in the vicinity in the battle of the boards but they ended up with the +12 and that was just too much for us to overcome. Team Brotherly Love, they're good and they're experienced and they know what they're doing."
However, former Cowboy star LeBryan Nash was electric in the first half. He jumped out to a fast start for the Stillwater Stars as he hit the first bucket for the OSU alums which led to a 7-0 run. He’d go on to finish the first half with 11-points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, 1-of-1 from 3-point range and two rebounds.
Nash would lead the way for the both sides with 30-points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field with five rebounds. In fact, it was one more point than his career-high of 29-points during his time at Oklahoma State.
"It's always good playing basketball, the game I love and just being able to showcase my talent and for my teammates to showcase their talents,” LeBryan Nash said after the game. “Obviously, we wanted to win and we didn't but it was a great experience and hopefully we will come back next year ready."
"He has always been able to score and we knew we would have to have him score a lot with some of our losses before the game,” said Manzer. “A lot was put on his shoulders and he delivered, he scored 30 points on 18 shots with Team Brotherly Love completely focusing on him. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get enough offense around him.”
Khalif Wyatt led the way for Brotherly Love with 27-points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, 9-of-10 from the free throw line and six rebounds.
The Stars jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but Brotherly Love would go on mini runs and cut Stillwater Stars’ lead to just three, 18-15. The Stars settled in a bit and finished the first quarter up 26-18.
The Stars would lead for all of the first half save for just two minutes. Brotherly Love took their first lead with just under three minutes in the second quarter, 35-33, after a 17-7 run, and didn’t give that lead up for the rest of the second quarter as they led 40-37 at the break.
The Stars kept it close for most of the third quarter, trailing just 49-48 with just over three minutes left, but started to run out of gas. Team Brotherly Love would finish the quarter on a 17-3 run leading 68-51 going into the fourth.
The Basketball Tournament is a little different than other basketball affiliations as they implement the Elam ending. With four minutes remaining, they turn off the game clock and a target score is set. The target score is eight points to the leading team’s score. The first team to reach the target score wins.
With four minutes left in the game, Brotherly Love led the Stillwater Stars 77-61, so the target score was set at 85. The Stars fought hard, but Brotherly Love was able to hit 85 in just a few minutes, beating the Stillwater Stars 87-71.