HS Boys Basketball: Cavaliers Remain Unbeaten in District Play After Win Against Conroe

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 01/05/2024


CONROE, TX -- The College Park Cavaliers (23-3) defeated the Conroe Tigers (13-9) in a road matchup that further cemented the Cavs as the top team in 13-6A.

A coronation of Conroe Tiger Gary Lewis and his accomplishment of breaking 1,000 career points highlighted the beginning of the night. The stellar athlete’s achievement was a testament to the hard work put in by the young man both on and off the floor.

After the celebration, a rapid-fire series of scoring and points would ignite the scoreboard in the first quarter. Transition baskets from the Cavs and three-point shots from the Tigers kept any lead marginal.

The Cavaliers made the first breakaway midway through the first quarter. A stingy defense kept Conroe from establishing offensive momentum, and fast-paced baskets brought College Park’s lead to double-digits.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, College Park Head Coach Clifton McNeely illustrated the factors that contributed to his team’s success in the opening quarter.

“We did a great job defensively and pushing the ball in transition,” said McNeely. “We were obviously playing at a tempo and pace that we like to play at.”

Additionally, the Cavaliers benefited from and-one opportunities under the basket. These buckets contributed immediate scoring while pushing the Tigers into foul trouble in the opening minutes.

Conroe’s resulting timid defense aided College Park in building an impressive 28-16 lead at the end of the first.

The scoring explosion from the first quarter was taken back during the second as the defenses came to the forefront.

Both teams combined for seven points during the first four minutes of the quarter. Most points came from the free-throw line, with heightened pressure on every possession.

Points started to flow more regularly as the quarter went on, with the Cavaliers maintaining their healthy lead throughout. Consistent points from Montez James and Aiden Buckmon kept College Park ahead of their opponents as the minutes ticked.

“I’ve got to give credit to the kids,” said McNeely. “They understand the game wnd they talk to each other. I think that’s a big part of it.”

College Park’s adaptability and bonus free-throw opportunities ensured the team would end the half with a healthy 43-32 lead.

“Defensively we had to do a better job,” said McNeely about halftime adjustments. “We also had to keep getting downhill and getting to the basket. Our best shots were at or near the basket.”

Montez James became the workhorse scorer for the Cavaliers to start the second half,carrying the scoring duties for his team throughout the remainder of the game.

James’ and a handful of other’s points kept the Tigers in the rearview throughout the quarter. Conroe’s fighting back came down to free throws and layups that did little to take chunks out of the Cavalier lead.

Frustration boiled over for Conroe when Head Coach Daryl Mason was called for a technical foul with 1:30 left in the quarter. The foul awarded College Park with easy points and momentum they would carry to the finish.

The lessons from halftime, along with steady scoring, propelled the Cavaliers to a 67-49 lead with the final eight minutes to go.

With the win seemingly in hand, the pace slowed for the Cavaliers during the fourth. Possessions were longer and tended to eat considerable amounts of clock before a shot would go up.

This strategy ate precious clock for the Tigers, who needed every possession if they hoped to get back into the game.

Unfortunately, Conroe was unable to make the most of their possessions, and the Cavaliers continued to creep farther away on the scoreboard.

College Park’s end-to-end control ended with the final score of 86-67 after the substitutes entered to play out the stretch.

“Everybody that comes off the bench knows that there are two rules,” explained McNeely. “On the defensive end you have to defend as hard and as tough as you can, and you cannot turn the ball over.”

The win keeps the Cavaliers undefeated in district play. It also keeps the team as one of the best teams in the state, intending to continue winning.

“It all starts tomorrow morning,” said McNeely. “If we come in there tomorrow and put our two hours in, that will keep the ball rolling.”

The march through district play continues for both teams on Friday. The Cavs will travel to Grand Oaks to face the Grizzlies while Conroe gets set to host Caney Creek.

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