Hodgeman County senior Thatcher Lackey was a force near the basket on both offensive and defensive ends, and made his presence felt early, hitting a 2-point shot to give the Longhorns a 14-11 lead in the first quarter against the Pawnee Heights Tigers Tuesday.

The Longhorns beat the Tigers 56-52 Tuesday.

They advance to play at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the winners side of the 2019 SPIAA League Basketball Tournament Bracket. The Tigers, having narrowly lost, will play Friday in a consolation game at 4:30 p.m.

The Tigers kept the game close, and in the third quarter tied the score at 41-41, but the Longhorns were able to take the lead and eventually close out the game, in part due to two clutch free throws by senior Spencer Bowman with under a minute left and a 54-52 lead. His free throws stood up as the game’s final points.

A longer story on this game will be posted later Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.