Joshua’s basketball players, from left, James Woodley, Junior Loya and Austin Barna celebrate following the Owls’ 43-42 District 8-4A victory
Joshua's basketball players, from left, James Woodley, Junior Loya and Austin Barna celebrate following the Owls' 43-42 District 8-4A victory at Burleson Tuesday night. (RICKY MOORE/JOSHUA STAR)
Tyler Wright wasn’t supposed to be first option on Joshua’s final play Tuesday night at Burleson.

But when the senior three-year letterman found himself at the top of key with Burleson’s Adrian Rodriguez between him and the basket he made himself the Owls’ first option.

Wright worked past Rodriguez near the free-throw line then with Burleson defense collapsing toward him he jumped and lofted a shot toward the net.

The ball found nothing but the bottom of the net giving Joshua a 43-42 District 8-4A. It was the Owls’ first in district win in 63 games.

“When the ball went in I thought ‘finally,’” said Wright who scored a game-high 19 points. “We haven’t done that (won a district game) in the four years I’ve been here.”

Joshua’s last district win came over Alvarado, 55-48, Feb. 5, 2008. Three days later the losing streak started with a three point loss to Everman.

The victory was also Owls’ coach Jeff Hudak first.

“That’s a good way to get your first win,” Hudak said. “A win over your rival and ending a 63-game losing streak.”

After the game, Burleson coach Ted Tomchesson gave Hudak the game ball.

“I can’t thank Coach Tomchesson enough for the class he showed by presenting me with the game ball for my first career win,” Hudak said. “He is a great guy, great teacher of the game, and ambassador for our sport. I texted him after the game to thank him once again and he left me with something that I won’t forget. He said that I need to make sure I do it for the next guy.”

Joshua hosts Crowley Friday to end the first half of district play. The Owls play Tuesday at Waco University.

Joshua trailed 40-39 with 38.7 seconds to play when Casey Anthony forced a turnover and was fouled.
Anthony then hit a pair of free throws for a 41-40 lead.

With 24.5 seconds to play, two free throws by Max Thompson gave Burleson the lead by back at 42-41.

Joshua nearly lost control of the ball when a pile of players hit the floor scrambling for possession.
Hudak saved the possession with a timeout since the possession arrow favored Burleson.
After the timeout, the Owls put their final play in motion.

“We ran it wrong,” Hudak said of the final play. “But like I told them in the locker room, that’s the way the game of basketball goes. You draw up something and it doesn’t always work as planned. But you keep battling and you preserve.”

The Owls did that Tuesday night and Hudak left Burleson with a slightly used basketball.