The Sealy Tigers basketball team competed in a tournament hosted by Schulenburg last week finishing in fourth place after falling to the hosting Shorthorns in the final game for third place. The Tigers started the tournament off with a big 61-37 loss to La Grange.
Despite the poor start, the team won two straight beating Rice Consolidated and Columbus both by more than 20 points. Head Coach Ray Dabney said two players in particular have stood out as the season nears its halfway point.
“A.J. McGee and Tyrek McNeese are both playing really well and especially together,” Dabney said. “We really need those two guys to step up because we’re going to be a defensive focused team this season.”
Dabney said McNeese, as one of the seniors on the team, is still developing his abilities both on the court and as a leader but has produced as a player well so far this season.
“He’s a quiet leader but he’s a strong kid as well,” Dabney said. “He isn’t a huge talker but he’ll do it when he’s needed but the way he really shows leadership and inspires his teammates is through actions. He is one of the hardest working guys we have on the team this year.”
Dabney said while finishing fourth on the heels of a loss to Schulenburg may seem like a sour note to end the weekend on, there were outside factors that affected the team during the game.
“We had just played a game a couple of hours earlier and we were actually up at half but then we just ran out of gas in the second half,” Dabney said. “I tried to use subs and timeouts effectively but we hadn’t practiced over the break because of UIL so we just didn’t have the stamina.”
The coach also said the team will focus on the defensive side of their game heading into district play later this month. He said since the team doesn’t have any particularly talented offensive players, they have the ability to be a defensive force.
“We shot really well but our press is where we really excelled in the tournament so we have to work on improving that and really forcing the other teams’ hands,” Dabney said. “The ultimate goal is to force turnovers to make transition scoring our main thing because those are the easy shots to make and that’s how we’ll win games.”
The Tigers will compete in one more tournament this weekend and a road game against West Columbia before beginning district play next Friday on the road against Bellville.