Basketball heads to district play

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With a 4-3 record before the holiday break, the Sealy Tiger basketball squad closes its non-district schedule at the end of this week before facing off with Wharton in the district opener next Tuesday.

The Tigers picked up a pair of wins over Rice, by an average of 19.5 points, and beat La Grange by eight and Madisonville by five. Prior to the penultimate non-district tilt and rivalry rematch, Sealy lost to Bellville and Palacios by a combined 10 points.

Despite a Tiger lead after one quarter of play at the Brahmas’ place on Dec. 20, the hosts stormed back with 20-point second and third quarters to ultimately sweep the home-and-home series with a 65-49 win.

It was the teams’ second meeting in 10 days and both times Bellville senior Blake Bills led the offensive charge with 16 points in the 50-47 win in Sealy and 17 points at home. Classmates Conner Poppe (14 points), Kyler Froebel (10 points), and Andrew Leuschner (eight points) were next and all hit a pair of three-pointers. Sophomore Robert Briggs also scored eight points and used only one three-pointer to get there.

The Tigers will close their non-district schedule when the Caldwell Hornets come to town on Jan. 3 when the Wharton Tigers will start their district play against the Royal Falcons.

Last year, the fourth and final playoff spot in District 25-4A-D1 needed a play-in game to decide the rightful owner after Sealy and Wharton split its season series with the former winning 56-55 at home and the latter winning 84-64 on its home court.

That game, too, came down to the wire but it was the Tigers from Wharton who snuck a tip-in at the buzzer to claim the final playoff spot. They fell to Navasota, 61-21, in the first round.

El Campo (8-3 overall) opens its district slate with Needville (1-11) on Jan. 3, as does Stafford (4-4) with Fulshear (5-11).

Up next for Sealy after Wharton will be El Campo, followed by Fulshear, then Stafford, Needville, and Royal to close the first round of district play on Jan. 24.

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