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San Angelo Central boys get back on track with home win against Lee

Charles Bryce
San Angelo Standard-Times
San Angelo Central's Raven Ortiz, center, fights to maintain possession of the ball against Midland Lee in a home game on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

Three nights after suffering their first District 2-6A loss of the season, the San Angelo Central Bobcats came out with a lot of determination in a 66-40 blowout against Midland Lee Friday night at Babe Didrikson gym.

Central was coming off an 80-52 loss on the road Tuesday against Odessa Permian.

"Out there at Permian, they're a good ballclub and a great program," Central head coach C.J. Villegas said. "But we didn't help ourselves in the aspect of offense. We turned it over more than we wanted to, and we missed some free throws and stuff.

San Angelo Central's Branden Campbell goes up for a layup against Midland Lee in a home game on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

"And, obviously, we missed some free throws tonight, too. We didn't feel like we executed the other night. And so our game plan tonight was, 'Let's see if we can excecute offensively and defensively.' And it's a credit to our guys for getting that done."

Raven Ortiz (20), Branden Campbell (17) and Jacoby Yates (11) scored in double digits, as Central improved to 12-5 overall and 2-1 in district under their first-year head coach. Lee dropped to 7-3 and 1-2.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 19-8 advantage after the first quarter and cruised to a 36-22 halftime cushion.

Villegas says you can't afford to take any teams in the district lightly and that's the mind-set they had against the Rebels.

"That team right there was a super-athletic team," the Central coach said. "And they're coming in here with a 7-2 record, so they've had a winning season. So to come together as a group and execute was a plus for us."

San Angelo Central head boys basketball coach C.J. Villegas is in his first year with the Bobcats in the 2020-21 season.

Campbell says the Bobcats are making great progress, but the best is yet to come.

"I think we're performing really good," Campbell said. "We've still got a lot of things to work on. And I think if we keep trusting each other, it'll push us really far."

Villegas talked about what has pleased him the most about the Bobcats at this point in the season, as they continue to learn his style of play.

"I think our guys, as a team, they are starting to figure out their role," the Central coach said. "And we're just trying to pick at it and put it together."

The Bobcats' new head coach is a high-energy personality and that's rubbing off on his players.

"We hope so," said Villegas, whose top assistant is former Ballinger head coach Jamal Anene, who did some great things in his stint with the Bearcats. "We try to stress it every day in practice. With our style and what we try to do defensively, you can't do it flat.

"You have to do it with energy, so we work from the last guy on the bench to the five dudes who are out there on the floor. We love the energy aspect of the basketball game."

The Bobcats had to play without their tallest big man, 6-foot-6 junior forward Chace Fields, against the Rebels. He was nursing an injury.

San Angelo Central's Braylon Rios makes a move toward the basket in the Bobcats' 66-40 District 2-6A home win against Midland Lee on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

"I think our guys stepped up in the right places, obviously, tonight to do what we had to do to find a way to win a ball game," Villegas said. "And we talk to them before every game. We just want to be in a position to win a ball game and we'll see what happens as we go from there."

Central will now have back-to-back road games, starting with next Tuesday's showdown at Abilene High.

San Angelo Central boys 66, Midland Lee 40

Lee 8 14 6 12--40

Central 19 17 15 15--66

LEE -- Maxwell 12, Davis 10, B. Foster 5, Hubert 4, J. Foster 3, Haas 2, Vanhusen 2, Hall 2. Totals 15 10-21 40.

CENTRAL -- Ortiz 20, Campbell 17, Yates 11, Lara 6, English 5, Cooper 4, Ruiz 1, Ramos 1, Gideon 1. Totals 28 8-22 66.

3-point goals -- Central 2 (Yates 1, English 1). Records -- Central 12-5 overall, 2-1 in District 2-6A; Lee 7-3, 1-2.

Charles Bryce is a journalist covering sports in West Texas. Send him a news tip at cbryce@gannett.com. Consider supporting West Texas journalism with a subscription to GoSanAngelo.com.