Boys’ basketball: Texas City races past Friendswood, 62-52

December 19, 2018

Most teams would find it baffling after missing their first 12 free throws, but because of Texas City’s relentless nature, the Stingarees had no difficulty overcoming that woeful statistic Tuesday night.

Down 12-7 after one quarter, Texas City used a 17-2 run to open a double-digit lead and the Stingarees easily held on for a 62-52 win over Friendswood in a District 22-5A boys’ basketball opener in the Mustang gym.

Texas City (12-5) made just 3 of 16 free throws in the first half, but the non-stop full-court pressure employed by the Stingarees caused turnovers and rushed shots from Friendswood, which experienced difficulty with the game’s pace.

“I thought we played well early, but we had some turnover issues in the second and third quarters,” Friendswood interim head coach Caleb Marburger said. “We couldn’t find any ways to score.

“Coach (Chris) Mason does a good job with his guys, and they made us play at their tempo. Our guys just weren’t able to settle in, especially in those two frames.”

After Friendswood (8-8) took a 12-7 lead with just more than two minutes remaining in the opening period on Thomas Hamre’s 3-pointer, the Stingarees found their groove and remained in it the remainder of the contest.

Texas City’s harassing defense held Friendswood without a field goal the entire second quarter in building a 27-16 halftime lead. The Mustangs were 4 of 8 from the free throw line in the second period for their only points during that eight-minute segment.

The Stingarees were even less impressive at the line, making just 3 of 12 attempts in the second quarter, but those shooting troubles were offset by Texas City’s ability to get to the basket.

Stingarees Leon Joubert, Caden McKenzie, T.J. Fountain, Phillip McDaniel, Dayton Booker, Nairobi Watson, Jacolby Belle and Drake Johnigan each scored field goals in a 20-point second quarter.

The depth-rich Stingarees kept running fresh bodies at the Mustangs, taking advantage of that decisive edge on both ends of the floor.

The third quarter didn’t offer any solace for Friendswood as Texas City opened the period with an 18-4 run to build a 45-20 lead.

By the quarter’s end, Friendswood trailed 45-23. Its only field goals in the quarter came from Ben McAndrews, Zach Zamora and Renyck Robertson.

The Mustangs erupted for 29 points in the final period, but Texas City’s lead was so substantial by then that Friendswood could never get the Stingaree led below 10 points.

“We’ve had issues the last two games in the second and third quarters,” Marburger said. “I thought we had a couple of good practices and corrected it, but we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and figure what we have to do to right the ship.

“Right now, we’ll do all we can to keep the kids focused. There were some guys that gave us a spark off the bench, but we’ve got to find some ways to keep the starters engaged.”

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