BASKETBALL: Atascocita remains undefeated after win over The Woodlands
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The second place Highlander boys basketball team (22-6, 6-2) faced off against the undefeated Atascocita Eagles (27-0, 7-0) on Friday night at The Woodlands High School gym. The Eagles are number one in district and the state coming into tonight’s game.
Atascocita won the opening tip off and immediately went down and scored on their first possession of the game. The Eagles scored the first 8 points of the night causing the Highlanders to call their first timeout with 6 minutes left in the first quarter. The Woodlands would turn the ball over right out of the timeout and Atascocita score 2 more making the score 10-0. The Highlanders’ first point came after The Woodlands junior forward, AJ Bullard, was fouled on a layup. He made the second of his two free throws to bring the score to 10-1. Eagle junior power foward, Fabian White was called for an offensive foul, leading to an layup by Highlander sophomore guard, Romello Wilbert. This made the score 3-12 with 4 minutes left in the quarter.
The Eagles were bringing plenty of full court pressure but on one occasion, Bullard broke the press getting a wide open layup. This was the only easy break of the Eagle press that the Woodlands got in the first half. Off the bench, The Woodlands sophomore power forward, Jack Williams scored to bring the score to 11-22 with 2 minutes left in the first quarter. The last two minutes of play brought the score to 25-19, the Eagles up, at the end of the first quarter.
The Eagles started with the ball in the second quarter and would again score on their first possession. Highlander senior point guard, Matt Block answered that basket with one of his own on the next trip down the court. The leader for the Eagles, White was fed for a slam dunk to make it 29-21. A few offensive trips later, Block for The Woodlands was rewarded 2 points on a goal tending call on Atascocita.
With 3:38 left in the half, Atacocita (11) was called for an offensive foul that led Eagle Head Coach David Martinez to call a timeout, leading 38-29. The next defensive play for the Highlanders, Wilbert stole an Eagle pass and took the ball down the court and scored a wide open layup. At 1:34 left in the half, White got a great assist under the basket from Shead to extend the Eagle lead to 42-29. In the last 40 seconds, Wilbert tipped in the rebound from his own shot to make the score 44-31. Atascocita dribbled out the rest of the first half, ending with a layup from Eagle senior forward Matt Willrodt, making the score 46-31 at halftime.
Returning to the half was the first quarter that the Highlanders started with the ball, and Wilbert scored on the first possession. But the following Eagle possession ended with a White layup. One minute into the third quarter, The Woodlands’s senior guard Clay Creighton hit a 3-pointer to bring the score to 36-48. Following the Creighton 3-pointer, the Eagles quickly inbounded the ball and broke the Highlanders’ press, opening up a layup for Eagle senior Brandon Brooks-Loville.
At 5:44 left in the third quarter, The Woodlands caused a 3 second lane violation on the Eagles with their strong defensive play. On the other end of the court, after almost having the ball stolen from him, Wilbert’s great hustle recovered the ball and he fed it to a wide open Bullard under the basket for a slam dunk. The Eagles rebounding was strong against the Highlanders. At one point in the third quarter, Atascocita offensively rebounded the ball for 15 consecutive seconds before Fabian White final tipped the ball in making it 57-38. At 2:38 left in the quarter, Atascocita forced a turnover on the inbound play. But when they turned around to make their own inbound pass, an Eagle foul turned the ball back over to The Woodlands. In the last minute of the third quarter, Atascocita committed two fouls but the Highlanders did not take advantage, coming out of the third quarter trailing the Eagles 42-65.
Atascocita again started with the ball in the fourth quarter and again scored on the first play. At 5:27 left in the game, The Woodlands senior Matt Block took on the 6’7” Fabian White, one versus one under the basket. Despite missing the layup, White fouled Block sending him to the line. Block made the first free throw bringing the score to 45-71. Highlander starter Kyle Spears did not get his first points of the game until he hit a 3-pointer with 4:44 left in the game. He would end the game with only 5 points.
The Eagles offense slowed their pace down in the fourth quarter, being more patient when it comes to shooting. With 3:20 left, White was fouled on a slam dunk sending him to the free throw line where he make his free shot for the 3-point play. The score after that was 78-48, giving the Eagles their biggest lead of the game at 30 points. With 2:20 left, Atascocita called a substitute timeout to sub out White. He ended the game with 34 points. With 40 seconds left, Matt Block was fouled after he stole a pass from the Eagles. With the Eagles in double bonus, Block took and made both of his free throws bringing the score to 52-81 which would end up being the final.
The Eagles second leading scorer was senior Carsen Edwards with 28 points. The leaders for the Highlanders were Block with 13 and Wilbert with 12.
Atascocita remains undefeated, 27-0 and 7-0 in district. Their next game will be Tuesday, February 2nd versus the Oak Ridge War Eagles.
The Highlanders drop only their second district game to go to 6-2, and 22-6 overall. Their next game is also February 2nd versus the Cavilers at College Park High School.