The Sealy Lady Tiger basketball squad erased an early lead and never looked back en route to a 67-37 victory over West Columbia last Tuesday evening that improved the home record to 2-0.
The visiting Roughnecks scored the first six points of the game but after they extended to a 9-5 lead. The Lady Tigers scored the final 11 points of the quarter unanswered and owned a 16-9 advantage after the opening frame thanks to six points from both senior Brylie Bond and junior Evelyn Harrington and four points from senior Marleeza Williams.
West Columbia kept it close in the second quarter, but Sealy pulled away in the third quarter, ultimately owning a 20-point lead heading into the final frame thanks to a few standout performers in the eyes of head coach Anthony Branch.
“We got down and made it interesting in the first half then we pulled away and started making some shots,” Branch said. “I was glad to see Heaven (Hernandez) make some shots. I thought Jasmyne (Joiner) did a really good job coming off the bench and grabbed some key rebounds and Evelyn (Harrington) settled down and hit the ball in the middle and we were able to score a few times out of that.”
That trio combined to score as much as the Roughnecks did – 22 points from Harrington, 11 from Hernandez and four from Joiner – and with Bond also hitting double digits with 12 points, the Lady Tigers cruised to another home victory.
“It was just another step in the process to get where we need to get to, we still got a lot of work to do. We have to have better practice habits, I thought in the first quarter, and most of the first half, our practice habits showed out there because we were making mistakes, weren’t where we were supposed to be,” Branch said. “In the second half, we got some easy buckets, hit a couple threes, earned a couple of nice offensive looks and once we got up 20 on them, they hung around in the end just to finish it up but that was pleasing to see that we finished up and didn’t let them come back.”
After losing a handful of games they had leads in late in the game, closing out wins was an emphasis for the head coach who said in a previous interview that this year’s motto is unfinished business. With a stretch of solid teams coming up, Branch knows his squad will have to take care of business day in and day out in practice.
“Our habits in practice have to be better because if your habits are good in practice the game will take care of itself. But I could see the flashes of things we can do,” Branch said. “We’ve got some good teams coming up. We got Sweeny, Gonzalez at home on a Monday night the 7th. They’re gonna be a good team. We got Luling coming up, Brazosport, Schulenburg; we got some tough games coming up that will prepare us for district, hopefully it’ll be the key for us.”
In this pre-district span, the head coach is also tinkering with his lineup to create a variety of looks and combinations to hopefully find the winning formula come district season.
“Played a lot of crazy combinations at the end that normally wouldn’t happen, I’m just trying to see some things I definitely want to take advantage of Avery (Oliver’s) ability to knock shots down out there, but we weren’t getting any offensive rebounds,” Branch said. “We probably got killed on the boards. That’s one thing I wasn’t too pleased with but that’s something we’ll watch on film and look at that. I think they’ll be disappointed with the block-out percentages and I’m sure they’ll come back.”
In addition to her team-leading 22 points, Harrington also pulled down a team-best seven rebounds and added five assists and a steal. Bond added two rebounds, two steals and an assist with her 12 points and Hernandez compiled five rebounds, two steals and an assist with her 11 points.
Oliver added five rebounds, two assists and two steals to her six-point performance. Eastlynn Cloud recorded six rebounds, six assists, four points and three steals. Joiner provided five rebounds, four points and a steal, and Marleeza Williams scored four points.
Alexa Hernandez nailed a three-pointer and recorded two rebounds and a steal. Julia Jurecka grabbed three rebounds and split a pair of free-throw attempts. Megan Schaaf registered five rebounds, three steals and an assist.