Upset-minded North Forsyth had Lambert on the ropes until the final six minutes of the game, but couldn't run with the Longhorns in the waning moments of a 71-56 result on Tuesday night.
Lambert (5-0, 2-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) ended the game on a 10-0 run headlined by a couple of assists between Tanner Hall and frontcourt mates Connor Mannion and Ross Morkem. Mannion finished with 27 points to lead all scorers, including two three-pointers, while Morkem added 16 points and three assists.
North (1-4, 0-2) stayed in the game, despite being undersized, with strong shooting performances from Connor Stephenson, who scored 15 on 6-of-8 shooting, and point guard Chad Bureau (15 points, five assists, two steals).
Nick Cunningham added nine points, while Preston Wiggins came off the bench for nine as well.
“I expect everyone to play their best game against us and our guys have been prepared for that,” Lambert head coach Scott Bracco said. “I'm proud of our guys for playing hard and their effort down the stretch, but our goal is to improve on defense.”
Bracco went deep into his bench early, adding Hall (four assists, two rebounds, two steals) and company with Morkem and Mannion rotating as the lone post, but had to apply more pressure after the Raiders continued to knock down shots.
“We played a lot of guys early on. I think in the second quarter they made a lot of shots and, so, we tried to play great defense, but they just kept making them. I give them credit for that. North is a very good shooting team,” Bracco said.
Lambert led 23-11 after the first quarter and 39-31 at halftime, but the Longhorns led just 43-41 in the third and 61-54 with 6:10 remaining in the game. From there, Austin Deckard knocked down a trey to pry back momentum. Deckard finished with 13 points, including three three-pointers, while Lambert point guard Andrew Melms added 12 points and four assists.
Although he's still searching for the first region win of the year, North head coach Brian Moon was encouraged with the shooting effort from his team.
“I thought we did some things better tonight and some things we've got to improve on,” Moon said. “We don't have as many scorers as they have. I think it was a two-point game at one point later on. We just had too many self-inflicted wounds. There were many opportunities where we came away with nothing when it should have been sure points. Our team is going to be okay. We're going to have to give a great effort every night.”