The Sealy Tigers tipped off their basketball season last Tuesday at the junior high school with a 51-43 win over the La Grange Leopards to lead into a long weekend off before they see the Rice Raiders twice this week.
“Feels good to knock the rust off and gives me a Thanksgiving break where I won’t be thinking about this person’s gotta go here, this person needs to go here,” said head coach Ray Dabney. “I don’t have to think about moving stuff all over, I can just go cook and be done with it.”
Overall, Dabney was pleased with the effort and now knows where he’ll need some emphasis in the coming weeks.
“Cody Carruthers has been working them on the press, we got a couple different things going on in the press and defensively, when you get that going and get a few layups to get the juices going, everything else runs smooth,” Dabney said. “I know we’ve got some kinks in the offense to work out, couple of shots we missed, we didn’t hit a lot of three’s like we normally do.”
The biggest thing he and the team will have to work on, however, is the cohesion of the group and how quickly they can come together and work as a unit where Dabney saw flashes of both sides early on.
“We just gotta find the way to fit together, everybody’s gotta fit together, the pieces of the puzzle have to go together so as long as we can get that and keep playing well and get some good chemistry, it’ll work out,” the head coach said. “There were a couple of times where we were arguing about what play we were running, calling different stuff; that can’t happen. Once we get that stuff together and ironed out we’ll be good.”
The Tigers were able to come together and take care of business over a La Grange team that held a one-point lead after the first frame but didn’t come to within single digits until the final minutes. Freshman Ryder Ramirez led the team with 15 points in his debut, followed by senior Cody Manna who scored 14. Ja’Marris Cotton poured in five, Connor Krenek had three points and Reece Novicke, Dai’Kwan Brown, Cameron Eschenburg, Draper Parker, Lane Holley and Jalen Statum all scored a pair of points.
One familiar point producer will be missed, likely for the season, in senior Noe Navarro who had surgery on a torn Achilles Nov. 26 after injuring it in practice. Ramirez will be part of the platoon to make up the lost ground.
This week will feature two matchups with the Rice Raiders as non-district opponents, who are nearby and at a premium to begin the season.
“Their coach just called me before this game and asked if I had a game Tuesday and I said no; ‘Well do you want one?’ Yeah, I’ll take one,” Dabney recounted. “We need games and don’t want to travel to Timbuktu; I had a coach call me today and it was on the other side of Austin. Another coach said the same thing, he was on the other side of 45, every one of them was at least two hours away. ‘You need a game don’t you?’ Yes, but I’m not going that far.”
Tuesday, Sealy traveled to Altair for the first meeting before the Raiders travel to the Tigers’ den on Friday night with varsity tip-off set for around 7 p.m.