Friday-night sweep in Sealy

A hat trick, an overtime win and a double-digit district victory kickoff the weekend

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Three teams played home games on a Sealy ISD campus and all of them walked away victorious.

Boys’ soccer preceded a district-doubleheader on the hardwood and Juan Perez’s defense stood tall again and failed to concede a goal to non-district Navasota over all 80 minutes.

Senior David Gomez earned his third shutout of the year and had the best seat in the house to watch Ricky Avila take over the show.

Avila was the one who opened the scoring in the game after being led all the way past the defense leaving him alone with the Rattler goalkeeper who decided to jump out and pressure the attacker, opening himself up to a lofted shot which Avila came through with to put Sealy in front 1-0 early.

Fellow underclassman Erik Balderas added a goal in similar fashion, using his speed and a well-placed pass to gladiator off one defender and provide a strike that found the back of the net and the Tigers took that 2-0 lead into the break.

Avila wasn’t finished, however, and added two more goals before the final whistles but, of course, none of it would have been possible without his teammates.

Those passes led him out in front and he noted of Navasota’s defense; “I saw their speed and matched it with mine and just took off,” he said.

After the previous game, Perez noted that he wanted to talk with his forward in order to calm him down a little bit when he got in close. Clearly, that message struck a chord and Sealy reaped the rewards by claiming victory.

“I told him to take the chances and he did,” Perez noted. “He had a couple nice ones, easy shots.”

That’s exactly what he had been looking for and mentioned that although this year may be a little changed from last year, it’s for the better.

“We’re playing different but I don’t have better players, they want to play,” he said simply. “We don’t have stars; everyone’s playing on the same level.”

That has translated into a pair of consecutive wins on their home field to start the season and begin to carry momentum into their district schedules, where the basketball squads are already deep in the midst of.

The primary meetings between the other teams in the district have already happened so now everyone is starting to know how the others work but the Royal Falcons were the opponents who came for a visit and the Lady Tigers were coming off a win that broke a double-digit losing streak and benefitted from the visitors’ short bench.

With time running out in the fourth quarter of play, the Lady Falcons found themselves in foul trouble and with only five healthy players on the bench, once one of them fouled out, they were down to the only four players they had healthy and active to play.

Still, Sealy kept the game close and nearly finished it off in the final seconds, but instead, the game went to an overtime period with the game tied at 50.

There, another player from Royal fouled out and so it was a five-on-three power play for the remainder of the period and Evelyn Harrington eventually hit the dagger for her fourth points of the extra quarter to secure the second win in a row for the Lady Tigers, 56-55, over a Lady Falcon team who only registered one loss in previous district competition.

It served as the second consecutive win for head coach Anthony Branch who described the night with the words; “Thrilling and resiliency.”

That extra bit of free basketball allowed more fans to filter in for the boys’ game that benefitted from the lingering of the good feelings after that win.

Ray Dabney’s Tigers got out of the gate hot and once they took the lead with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter, they never trailed again.

Down the stretch, when the Falcons did begin to make a comeback, it seemed to always be answered by a Reece Novicke shot that came from behind the three-point arc to offset the attempted counter.

In the fourth quarter, in fact, Royal brought the score to within just three points after trailing by as much as 13 points, and both times that happened, once the ball was back in the hands of the Sealy offense, it found its way back to Novicke’s hands which fired up another successful three-pointer to stake claim to his home gym.

He mentioned although it took a while to find his groove, he’s got it now and has been working to make it stick around, and a 22-point performance surely doesn’t hurt.

Novicke added that he took advantage of some open floor space and just went to work.

“They were leaving the corners open so coach just told me to run to the corner and look for the pass and it was there,” he said simply.

After grabbing that quality of a win, Novicke added the squad played with confidence Friday night and will look to bring that moving forward.

“We were in a good rhythm we were playing loose,” he said. “I think that was a big thing, we weren’t trying to force it we were letting it come to us and see what they were giving to us to take advantage.”

The Tigers were able to do just that and walked away with a 79-69 win to close out quite the successful Friday night in the town of Sealy.

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