Three local teams bound for play-in tournament

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The final week of the regular season threw the LISD into chaos.

With a plethora of scenarios on the table, the most complicated one was the outcome Tuesday night. Vista Ridge lost to No. 13 Westlake 80-64, Leander beat Lehman 65-40 and Vandegrift topped Lake Travis to set up a three-way tie for third in District 25-6A.

The teams will participate in a district seeding tournament at Rouse. The Rangers flipped and were given the bye, meaning Vandegrift will face Leander in the first game Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner of that game will then play Vista Ridge Friday at 7 p.m.

It Vista Ridge wins that game, the Rangers will be the No. 3 seed and the loser will get the No. 4 spot. The loser of Thursday night’s game will be eliminated.

If the Rangers lose on Friday, they will play the loser of Thursday’s game at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Rouse for the No. 4 spot. Theoretically, the team that beats the Rangers will get the No. 3 district spot.

“It’s better than the alternative,” Leander head coach Clint Bradley said. “In a perfect world, we’d have liked to secure a playoff spot three or four games ago. So we’re going to have to try and take advantage of the opportunity that we’re given.”

The three teams have identical 2-2 records head-to-head this season. The Vipers ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak, while Leander lost five of six games in the second round of district play.

Ryan Boles hit a 3-pointer with under seven seconds left to give the Vipers a 64-62 win against Lake Travis on Friday. Kobe Thompson scored 16 points and Chase Cotton added 14 to help the Lions snap a five-game losing streak with a 65-40 home win against Lehman.

“We had some things not go our way early in the second round of district and we were able to respond,” Bradley said. “It was a very important game and now we at least have an opportunity to get into the playoffs in a play-in.”

The Lions got out to a 12-9 lead after the first quarter and never looked back despite 14 points by the Lobos in the second quarter. Cody Bayer hit a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter and Hunter Stevens added a third to extend their lead to 11 points.

Leander scored a game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and was 5-of-6 from the free thrown line to get back to its winning ways and regain some confidence entering the play-in tournament.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Bradley said. “We got over the hump and got the much-needed win to build confidence. It’s been a great year so far and hopefully, we’ll be able to get back to being as consistent as we were in the first half of district. I think we will be. We’ll be prepared.”

In District 19-5A, Rouse already had a playoff spot locked up but clinched the No. 3 seed with a 56-46 win against Bastrop. The Raiders travel to Hearne to face off with Tomball in the first round next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Facing a win or stay home, Cedar Park rallied to beat Elgin 46-32 and will face Brenham Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Rockdale High School. The Timberwolves will be making their eighth straight appearance in the playoffs.

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