It has indeed happened before but the Lady Tigers now find themselves on what’s called a winning streak after ending a district-victory drought on the road in Needville only to follow that up with an overtime battle that ended with the No. 2 team earning just its second loss so far.
The weight was lifted when Sealy went to Needville and secured the second win over the Lady Jays this year, the two wins of which actually bookended the losing streak.
On Dec. 14, the Lady Tigers grabbed a 31-29 decision on their home court although Cami Buell nearly brought the Lady Jays all the way back in the final moments, but Sealy claimed victory that night and not again until the trip to Needville where the Lady Tigers emerged victorious by a 43-30 margin, closing out a 32-day winless stretch.
Diari Dabney led the way in the January rematch and secured a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds although Avery Oliver finished with the most rebounds (14) while adding eight points herself.
That momentum carried into a busy Friday night in Sealy where three home games resulted in three wins for the Tigers.
Boys’ soccer got things started and the Lady Tigers picked up from there, outlasting the second-place Royal Lady Falcons with a 58-55 overtime win.
Sealy held a 28-19 lead heading into the second half but trailed by a 41-35 score heading into the fourth quarter of play.
It seemed as though this game would go down as another where the Lady Tigers had a lead but failed to close things out, but head coach Anthony Branch never let them give up and they produced the fourth quarter they needed and very nearly ended things in regulation.
Zoee Jeffrey led the charge with six fourth-frame points and with three-point quarters from Avery Oliver and Evelyn Harrington, Sealy stormed ahead while also taking advantage of a depleted Royal bench to send the game to overtime tied at 50.
Only seven Lady Falcons were healthy enough to be considered active for the road trip but once one of them registered too many fouls, there wasn’t anyone else to replace the fouled-out player.
Four Royal players earned their fifth personal foul in the second half and the squad was reduced to only three eligible players compared to five Lady Tigers on the floor.
The leading scorer for the Lady Falcons was the last to foul out in overtime and Harrington provided the dagger by supplying half of the points in the extra period while maintaining stifling defense to secure the second district win in a row.
When Royal kept losing players, Branch wasn’t sure if he should advise his team to just hold on to the ball and bleed out the game or if they should get after it since they outnumbered the opponents.
It was a little bit of both and a few extra shots went up, making Branch’s blood boil a few extra seconds as the Lady Falcons hit a late shot although it still ended in a win and the coach said simply; “We’ll take it any way we can get it.”
The self-described “Crazy game,” has Branch’s squad back in the mix of things heading into the final home stretch.
With four games remaining on the Lady Tigers’ schedule, they sit in fifth with a 3-5 record, looking up along with everyone else at undefeated El Campo atop the list at 7-0.
Royal dropped to 4-2 so far and still needs to close out the first matchup with the Ricebirds from El Campo after the initial meeting was suspended in the third quarter due to a fight breaking out.
That conclusion will help balance out the games played in district as both Wharton and Stafford entered this week with 5-3 marks, rendering the district susceptible to utter chaos in the final group of games.
However, Branch is urging his players to not let their gaze wander too far ahead as the remaining regular season take priority.
“We’re not worrying about the playoffs,” Branch noted. “We’re focused on the next game that’s the only game we’re worrying about now, we got this one, we’re still in the mix but we gotta take it one game at a time.”
That next game will come at the end of this week against the Lady Tigers of Wharton who secured a 52-43 win in Sealy during the first meeting.