Tigers bounce back with win at Stafford

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After the Tigers dropped their first district game of the year by a 69-41 margin, Sealy head coach Ray Dabney was quick in his post-game press conference, noting the next day’s practice will not be an enjoyable one.

That lack of fun sparked the Tigers to a bounce-back victory on the road in Stafford to stay afloat in the District 25 standings.

The early-week matchup with the visiting Fulshear Chargers started out with an early lead for Sealy, before the clock even started moving, in fact.

The Chargers’ height was put on display in the pre-game warmups as many of the athletes threw down dunks with ease.

However, that is a violation of the rule book and before the tip-off even occurred, Fulshear was given a technical foul.

Before players converged at midcourt for the opening of the game, Reece Novicke went to the free-throw line to shoot a pair with nobody around him.

He made half of the shots and the tip-off went on as it normally does although the Tigers already had a point on the board.

The rest of the first quarter also went on as normal although Sealy found itself trailing by the end of the frame by a 21-15 score although Ivan Bolden provided a third of the points with a pair of buckets and a free throw himself.

But the second quarter was a little slower as the Chargers were held to just 10 points in the second eight-minute period although the Tigers put up even fewer on their side.

Aiden Roberts split a pair of free throws and Draper Parker made two of his to make the halftime score just 31-18.

By the time it was all said and done, coach Dabney had grown understandably frustrated but didn’t even realize the lack of point-production in that frame.

“We only had three points in the second quarter?” he said, looking around trying to run back that quarter in his head briefly. “You gotta match quarters, even if you have a bad quarter, it’s gotta be at least 10 points, if it’s only three it’s gonna get real bad, real quick.”

However, it didn’t start off that one-sided in the second half as Bolden added four more points to what ended up being a team-high nine points but Fulshear ended the third quarter scoring the last nine points unanswered to make the score 54-29 heading into the last quarter of play.

Although the Tigers have found themselves trailing by a significant margin before, this one was a little too insurmountable with only eight minutes left on the scoreboard although the final score ended at 69-41, Roberts scored five of Sealy’s final eight points.

Dabney knew there was just about nothing he liked as soon as the final buzzer sounded and he also knew the next day’s practice was not going to be one the team looks fondly back over.

He categorized it as, “A lot of running or a lot of screaming or I’ll be sending them home, it could be quick.”

However, that time in the gym sparked something in the team that came back out in the following game against the Spartans of Stafford.

Despite “digging ourselves a little hole,” as Dabney put it, the Tigers trailed by double digits again but was given a boost to start the second half.

Derek Bollinger who more recently was known for delivering punishing blows in the trenches on the gridiron, delivered a big three-pointer to kick the momentum to Sealy’s side and then it was the Clay Roberts show from there out.

He went on to compile 12 points in a scoring-performance that Dabney knew he needed out of his senior.

Dabney added the composed feeling he got when more plays were going in his team’s favor, reinforcing the notion that his team can indeed put up this kind of performance whenever they want.

“I know they can do it, it’s just them having to figure out that they can do it without being told so,” Dabney mentioned. “But it was calming and relaxing to see them make play after play and of course it’s always nice to see the ball go in.”

By the end of it, his Tigers had put up more points than Stafford walked away with a 52-48 district win on the road, which Dabney also stressed the gravity of.

“The big thing is that we went there and grabbed a win,” he said. “It will be more difficult when we play these teams a second time around; they’ve seen you so they’ll know how to prepare. We’re at the top fighting for a playoff spot and right now we need to get all the wins we can get before the second half starts.”

With the win over the Spartans, Sealy moved to 3-1 in the district, solidifying a third-place spot over the 2-2 Wharton Tigers.

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