After falling behind 33-17 after two quarters of play, the Sealy Tigers bounced back to cut the deficit by 10 thanks in part to 11 unanswered points to close the third quarter against the crosstown rival Bellville Brahmas in the first installment of a home-and-home series, this one played at Sealy High School last Tuesday night, Dec. 10.
With the score 41-33 in favor of Bellville, Sealy senior Lane Holley went to the free-throw line on three consecutive possessions and hit 4-of-6 attempts, before Draper Parker scored back-to-back layups leading to Holley’s bucket and-one to close the third showing a 41-33 Brahma lead on the scoreboard with eight minutes left in regulation.
Winning that frame most importantly out of them all was just part of Sealy head coach Ray Dabney’s game plan.
“We always talk about winning the third quarter, that’s what I just talked to them about,” Dabney said. “We gotta battle back and it takes one stop at a time and they did that, but we can’t spot the guys 20 points to begin with.”
Reece Novicke and Ja’Marris Cotton got the Tigers four points closer before Bellville got its first bucket of the fourth quarter in front of a solid fan section that Brahma head coach Ralph Almanza credited some of the momentum coming from.
“Those guys are great this year, we’re trying to play a little more fast-paced up and down and those fans can get into that and get behind us,” Almanza said. “Everyone’s getting up to play couple of minutes and they’re coming on and bringing energy and they just feed off of those fans.”
Bellville senior Blake Bills possibly took the biggest advantage of the home fans on the road by scoring seven of his team-leading 16 points, none bigger than making his final two free-throw attempts that put the Brahmas ahead 50-47 where Sealy was unable to get a three-point shot to fall before the buzzer, sealing the win for the visitors.
“This whole Bellville-Sealy thing is so much fun, we’re right down the road it’s not a district game so it doesn’t mean anything like that but it’s just a fun game to be a part of,” Almanza said.
The teams will meet again this Friday night at the Brahmas’ place for another non-district tilt before the holiday break.
Although the Tigers were able to flip the script and outscore Bellville 30-17 in the second half, Dabney said the initial deficit was always going to be too much to overcome.
“When we came out in the third quarter and we hit some shots we got some boards got a couple of layups and free throws and ‘free shots,’ I call them free shots but we ran the offense and it came open,” Dabney said. “We had a couple of defensive steals that we capitalized on and we put some pressure on them, they had the pressure on us but we put the pressure on them we battled back they folded a little bit they gave us the ball.”
On the other sideline, Almanza sees that as one of the areas of improvement he’ll be working with the team next.
“We gotta get better at conditioning, we are still not in basketball shape,” Almanza said. “All those little missed layups are because you don’t have any legs. That’s our No. 1 concern right now especially if we’re trying to play up and down the way we are.”
The loss served as Sealy’s first on its home court and with another loss in a weekend tournament to the Palacios Sharks, the Tigers enter this week of competition 3-2 overall. On the other side, the Brahmas picked up their first win of the season last Tuesday night and had yet to return to the win column by the beginning of this week after falling to the Royal Falcons and Paetow Panthers in non-district play to move to 1-4 overall.