The Sealy Lady Tigers’ basketball season came to an end last week in Stafford with a 43-41 loss, leaving them in fifth place with a 3-9 record in District 25-4A.
The Lady Spartans stole the win with a pair of three-point shots on back-to-back possessions in the final seconds by freshman Christian Rojas who helped her team finish with a 2-10 mark in district play.
On the other side of the late-game heroics, Sealy head coach Anthony Branch said he plans on using the film of the shots as a primary motivating factor in the offseason.
“I told them afterward, ‘You need to feel that, you need to remember what this feels like when I call in and check in on you to see why you’re not coming to the gym,’” he said. “I’ll keep reminding them and showing them the clip of that girl bombing that three so that they remember this feeling.”
It was another game in a list of instances where Branch saw his team being right there, citing matchups with Fulshear and El Campo at home, as well as Royal on the road, as games that slipped away.
Now the work begins to build upon the positives of this year, including a high percentage of charges drawn and solid man defense, to get this crop of athletes to the next level.
“Since the second quarter against El Campo, the fourth district game, we didn’t close out on their shooter, Mya Shorter, and zone was never discussed again,” Branch said. “I think one time I said something about zone, just game planning it. They told me ‘We need to play man, we need to run our 50 defense.’”
In addition to the stifling man defense, the team doubled the amount of charging fouls that they drew, setting the foundation for continued improvement next year.
“We took 16 charges last year, this year we had 32 get called,” the coach added. “We probably tried to take another 25 or 30 that didn’t get called where we were in position, so it shows where we are on the man defense.”
Branch was also pleased with the Lady Tigers’ block-out ability and that was reinforced in one post-season conversation with an athlete.
“We really started blocking out; one girl was telling me she didn’t win the most charges on the season but had the highest block-out percentage,” he said. “We started that in district and that’ll be something I work on more next year. Early in the season we were giving up a lot of offensive rebounds.”
Moving forward, he’s confident in the direction of the team and looks forward to only adding fuel to the competitive fire burning at Sealy High School.
“They voted for team MVP and it was pretty close so that tells me there’s not one clear-cut person but there’s three or four kids that everyone respects, and they bring some leadership,” Branch said. “There was a lot of competition, both teams would go at each other. There were sometimes the JV had their way with us and it was competitive. The next day we came back and we had to come in and do things better. You can’t worry about the results, just come in and give everything you’ve got to be better than you were yesterday.”