SNYDER—Roberto Gallinat could sense his team was one shot away.
Trailing for the majority of the second half, Gallinat rose up from beyond the arc. Not once – not twice – but three times as the sophomore guard from Atlanta connected on a trio of 3s, the final one coming with 1:50 left in regulation to erase a nine-point deficit and give the Texans their first lead of the second half, 85-83.
"I've been here before, and I just tried to keep calm for my teammates," Gallinat said. "I felt like we were a little rattled, and I just got a great pass and was able to finish the play. That's a good team, and it felt like they didn't miss a shot. When we got the lead, we knew we were going to have to keep pushing forward."
Following a 3-ball from Western Texas' Jordan Tolbert with 53 seconds remaining that eventually sent the contest into overtime, the No. 1 Texans outscored the Westerners 15-10 in the final five minutes to cap off a 103-97 comeback conference road win and improve to 20-0 on the season and 8-0 in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.
"I think we made just enough plays to win the game, and they were everything I thought they would be," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "We tried to speed them up, we tried to trap them, and their answer was the 3-point shot. I think there was a surge of confidence that went through our players. I don't think these guys wanted to lose yet, and just about everybody I put in gave us something."
South Plains' Jordan Brangers led all scorers and tied his career high with 35 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field and 14-of-19 from the charity stripe. Gallinat finished with 22 points and went 5-of-8 from the perimeter. Jahlil Tripp recorded his third consecutive double-double as the 6-foot-5 freshman from Brooklyn, NY totaled 13 points and 15 boards. Josh Webster bucketed 11 points and dished out six assists for the Texans, while Shawntrez Davis chipped in nine points and hauled in 10 rebounds.
"Coach Green preached to us all week that Western Texas was never good to him," Brangers said. "Our first half was brutal, and coach Green talked to us at halftime and let us know what we needed to do. We just executed in the second half and made big time plays. I feel like when I step on the court I have to be a killer at all times, and coach Green gives me the opportunity to take those shots and make big-time plays."
The Westerners(13-8, 5-3) used a 58 percent mark from the 3-point line in the first half to send the Texans into the locker room trailing for the first time this season, 42-41. South Plains responded in the back half shooting 50 percent from the perimeter and 52 percent from the field. Western Texas shot just 39 percent from the floor and 35 percent from 3 in the final 20 minutes.
"We switched the defense to something we drew up on the chalkboard and never played in our lives," Green said. "I think it helped a little bit. We got to their shooters in the second half and they didn't make as many 3s. This one is huge. It's all about what they think between their ears, not about what I think. At the end of the day, it's just one more conference win."
South Plains will look to remain perfect on Thursday night when they play host to Midland College on Hockley County Schools Employee Credit Union Night at the Texan Dome. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and can be watched live at spctexans.com.