AP NEWS

Deer Park in need of its best game for bi-district test with Summer Creek

February 19, 2019

It’s no secret that when Deer Park’s varsity boys basketball team takes the floor at Lee College’s facility Tuesday night, they’ll be the underdogs.

Facing an uphill battle for the opening bell to the 6A state playoffs when they confront Summer Creek, the District 22-6A champions, 21-6A’s fourth-place club will have to rely on a host of ingredients in order to keep their season alive.

Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Tickets are $5.

But first-year head coach Ryan Bright is anticipating those ingredients showing up, offering the team a chance to come away with the upset if they can stretch the game into the fourth period.

“They play really fast and they play really, really hard. Coach (Kenneth) Coleman does a very good job with them. You can tell they respect him and want to play hard,” Bright said Monday afternoon.

With Summer Creek bringing a 25-6 overall record and a perfect 16-0 ledger into tonight’s game, Deer Park simply has to play its best contest of the season. That means a minimal amount of turnovers, definitely no cold shooting, win the battle on the boards and get to the foul line where Bright’s Bunch must hit 75 percent or better. Check that, 100 percent may be necessary.

In Deer Park’s favor is the fact that several District 21-6A teams were a mirror image of the Bulldogs and the way they attacked the goal or played defense.

“We had good preparation from our district. They play a lot like Beaumont United, a lot like North Shore and we got to see those guys a couple of times,” Bright said.

Although they were swept by those two playoff-bound teams, Deer Park was defeated in respectable fashion, losing to North Shore twice by fewer than 10 points.

“We’ve seen them do a lot of different things but they like to full-court press and when they get into the half-court, they play man but there’s a lot of pressure. They want to try and force turnovers and that’s how they get their offense going,” Bright said.

Bright lists the trio of Dylen Scales, Javon Jackson and the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Dylan Phillip as Summer Creek’s trio of potential troublemakers.

Deer Park’s man-to-man defense must keep tabs on those three at all times, while making sure someone off the bench doesn’t pull the rug out from under the Deer.

“The way we play our defense, I’ll match it against anybody’s offense. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our defense. When our offense struggles, we can always rely on our defense. Obviously, we need to put the ball in the hole, but the way we play defense, we can hang with anybody,” Bright said.

And then there’s Deer Park’s deep penetration in last year’s playoffs. There’s a few holdovers from that team who will act as a guiding hand.

“They understand the magnitude of the playoff game. We’re a senior-heavy team. We’ve got a lot of seniors. I think they all understand what this means. Every game is potentially their last game,” Bright said.

It’s no longer a winter-long season, it’s now a 32-minute season from here on out.

“That’s what’s great about March Madness and high school basketball, it takes just one game. Anything can happen in one game. We want to keep it tight and anything can happen at the end,” Bright said.

ravery@hcnonline.com