The Sealy boys’ basketball team fell in their penultimate home district game against Fulshear, 71-56, last Friday and have only one away game remaining at the end of this week.
After that, the Tigers will host the Royal Falcons in the season finale next Tuesday evening at Sealy High School. It will be the last game for eight seniors who head coach Ray Dabney has developed close relationships with in their time together.
“This group of seniors is a great group of kids, I let them watch my girl, some of them anyway,” Dabney said after Friday’s loss. “And when you say that you let them watch your kids, that means they're a good group of kids and they’ve got good hearts and they mean well.”
Reece Novicke, Ja’Marris Cotton, Dai’Kwan Brown, Cody Manna, John Owen, Donte Beasley, Jay Bolden, and Jalen Statum have been leading by example this year and setting the groundwork for those who will be returning to claim a roster spot on next year’s team.
“They're teaching the kids to know how to work and what not to do,” the coach said. “For the most part, the other kids know, ‘I shouldn't do this and I shouldn't do that and I got to do this better.’ Sometimes you can lead in a way where even if you do something wrong, the kids will know, ‘Well, I know not to do this because coach doesn't like this.’ The lower group knows, they see some bits and pieces of what they have done and what they shouldn't do and all that good stuff.”
A solid group of current juniors and some promising underclassmen will use those lessons moving forward and will look to get Sealy basketball back to the playoffs. Juniors Jacob Gajewski, Draper Parker, Nick Martinez, Lane Holley and Cameron Eschenburg, along with sophomores Callen Rabius and Connor Krenek, all got valuable minutes this year and will look to build on that in the offseason.
“You saw the second group, when they came in and Juice (Gajewski) was in there, we got a lot of the pick and rolls that I want my first group to get,” Dabney said. “We didn't get the shot. We didn't get the and-one. But we did get to the free-throw line. And that's what that group needs to see; that you can run the offense, you do get shots and you do get looks. You might not get the opportunity of making the and-one, but at least you get an opportunity to get to the free-throw line. That's good for those guys to get in a little because they are the future, that second group will be the future.”
Before then, he hopes the group of outgoing seniors enjoy the final moments of their final ride after the final away game in Needville closes this week of play.
“What I want them to do is just have fun and enjoy basketball,” he said.
Beasley led all Sealy scorers in last Friday’s defeat with nine points, Martinez and Rabius followed with seven each and three Tigers finished with six points: Manna, Gajewski and Holley.