Although the Tigers trailed only for a few moments to begin the third quarter, Clay Roberts took the lead right back but Madisonville hung around until a new group of five in black and gold hit the court and rattled off a streak that all but secured the game for the home team.
The Mustangs made the trip from Madisonville owning a 2-9 record but kept pace with Sealy by pressuring the ball in the backcourt and using some height to pull away rebounds.
“We were struggling because we were turning the ball over and we were not blocking out on the backside,” Sealy Head Coach Ray Dabney noted. “And we were allowing them to shoot more than two or three shots at a time.”
Despite those shortcomings, the Tigers still remained in the lead but the second quarter saw the Mustangs work their way back, with the help of those Sealy miscues, thanks to a strong effort from Madisonville’s #2.
Dylan Stanley poured in ten points in the second frame alone and put an exclamation point on the comeback, beating the buzzer with a deep three-pointer to the game at 37.
But whatever coach Dabney said in the locker room during the break inspired his team enough to rattle off points and get the crowd involved to make things uncomfortable for the visiting Mustangs.
The Tigers came out and scored the first 13 points of the second half, six of which came from Roberts, to take a 50-39 lead.
But Madisonville hung around and outscored Sealy 10-8 the rest of the quarter to make the score just 58-49 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
A brand-new group of five Tigers hit the floor, bringing new energy to the game although Dabney didn’t need them to do much.
“All I asked them to do was to play hard and just maintain the score,” coach Dabney said. “You don’t necessarily have to gain on the scoreboard but at least maintain the score so I can send the other guys back in.”
Not to say the starters were the only ones who are able to put points on the board but the lineup of Draper Parker, Noe Navarro, Ja’Marris Cotton, Aidan Roberts and Derek Bollinger hit the floor and took Dabney’s statement to heart and made sure to maintain the game.
Simultaneously, those guys kept scoring, rendering another mass substitution unnecessary and inflating the Sealy lead to more than 20 before Madisonville grabbed a bucket to make things 70-51 with less and less time on the clock.
Simply put; “The second group came in and killed it,” Dabney noted, appreciating the style game the team as a whole put together.
Although the Mustangs scored the final six points of the game, the two teams were already too far apart but it rounded out the final score to 77-59.
“That was the best I’ve seen the whole group play,” Dabney mentioned. “From bigs to littles to kids on the bench and everyone in the stands, everyone was a part of the game whether vocally or otherwise.”