Leander withstood a late charge from Cedar Park to win its first game of the brand new season Tuesday night.
The Lions beat the Timberwolves 54-50 in their second game of the season. Leander jumped out an early lead, but Cedar Park cut the lead to one possession late in the fourth quarter.
“We did a good job early on at both ends of the floor,” Leander head coach Clint Bradley said. “They got two clean looks at 3-pointers and that got them going. Every time we come to this gym, we’re going to battle. We’ve got a chance to be a pretty good group this year.”
Sophomore Noah Robledo and senior Hunter Stevens scored 20 points apiece to lead Leander and Landon Sisson added four points.
Cedar Park was led by Karson Cater with 13 points. Jacob Hester scored 11 points, Josh Baker added seven points and Mathew Minor finished with six points for the Timberwolves.
“Our guys are pretty proficient at what we want to do, but we’re not finishing the possession,” Cedar Park Blake Brown said. “We’ve got guys that can shoot, but we’re settling for too many 3-pointers. At the end, we didn’t get enough defensive rebounds. It’s a good learning game for us.”
Leander started strong, opening up a double-digit lead in the first quarter. The game tightened up in the second as the Timberwolves got back in it and got within five points at halftime.
Cedar Park scored on a floater in the fourth quarter and Leander was called for a blocking foul. The Lions would go on to since two free throws, but Baker nailed a 3-pointer in with under two minutes left to cut the lead to three points.
The Lions hit two of four free throws down the stretch to hold on.
It was the first game of the season for Cedar Park, which made the playoffs a season ago and is just four years removed from the state semifinals.
“We’re off and running now,” Brown said. “I’m not really one those guys that’s going to sit and talk about this or that championship. I tell all our guys that before you graduate, you should be a district champion. They know that and we’re excited about making the next good play.”
Leander also made the playoffs a season ago, where it lost in the first round to San Antonio Madison. But six players return for the Lions from last year’s team.
“We’ve got great leadership with those six returners and the newcomer Noah has a chance to be really special,” Bradley said. “We’ve got a very unselfish group and that’s how you have success if just be for team Leander.”
The Lions continue non-district play when they host Anderson, while the Timberwolves travel to face off with Westwood on Friday night.