Despite starting its regular season a little later than everyone else in the district, Sealy has made up for lost time and hit the ground running, remaining as one of two unbeaten teams in the group.
With only a pair of losses on the record so far, the Tigers have rattled off six straight wins before entering the competition with the Fulshear Chargers, although their sights are still set on the games that are played after the regular season is over.
Sealy head coach Ray Dabney has appreciated the senior leadership that has been exemplified so far this season and knows their hunger is the driving force behind their play so far.
“We’re senior-driven, and they’re hungry,” Dabney said. “The goal is the playoffs and with every game, even non-district, it’s a test to see if we can get there.”
He also added it has been a handful of years since the Tigers were represented in the postseason and that is the current goal at this point in the season.
But there is still plenty of basketball left to be played before those spots are determined but Dabney feels good about where his team is headed.
Of course, part of where you’re going comes from where you’ve been, and Sealy had quite the eventful holiday break.
It started with a solid win over Rice Consolidated, 44-30, where both A.J. McGee and Draper Parker poured in 10 points with Noe Navarro right behind with nine of his own.
That was followed up with a wire-to-wire contest with La Grange, where an extra overtime period was needed. After three quarters of play, the Leopards held a 43-37 advantage but the Tigers supplied a 19-point fourth frame to tie the game at 53 before the fourth buzzer.
Sealy outscored La Grange in extra time, 9-5, to secure another victory, thanks in part to four Tigers registering double-digit point totals.
Reece Novicke led them all with 20 points, all of which came without the help of the three-point line. McGee (14) and Navarro (12) were after him while the lone Sealy shooter to utilize the three-point stripe, Terrel Brooks, finished with 10 points and led the squad with eight rebounds to claim a 65-61 victory.
Later that day the Tigers met up with the Columbus Cardinals for yet another game where every second was important.
The Cardinals went to the halftime break with a 35-25 advantage, but Sealy was far from out of the game.
The second-half effort brought the team all the way back, thanks in part to a different player in Tiger colors emerging to lead the team in points.
This time around it was Clay Roberts and he made sure to use the help of his friend called the three-pointer. They were such good friends, in fact, that Roberts only threw up three shots from the field and made one of them while adding five more points from the free-throw line.
But six of his shots from long range hit the bottom of the net to help Sealy storm all the way back and take a 69-68 decision from a Columbus team that spent most of the game in the lead.
Roberts’ 25 points erased those advantages and when it was all said and done, not even his best performance on the gridiron got close to that point-ceiling.
He wasn’t the only one in double-figures, however, as both McGee and Novicke ended with 11 points by their names as well.
That momentum carried into the first district matchup of the year with the Wharton Tigers coming to pay a visit.
That was another tightly-contested game that was already delved into on page seven if you haven’t already read that.
If you have, you read that the Tigers started district competition off with another one-point win, this one over the visiting Tigers from Wharton.
After that game, Roberts, who hit the winning shot, said the goal was to simply, “Keep it rolling and go 2-0 in district.”
That feat was accomplished last Friday night as it was the El Campo Ricebirds who took up the next slot on the schedule, but they had yet to win a game entering Friday play.
Sealy made sure not to be the first one in the win column and secured a win by a much roomier 52-39 advantage, moving the district record to the aforementioned 2-0.