In their District 23-5A opener Tuesday, a scorching start proved to make a difference in a fairly evenly-matched, well-played game, as the Texas City Stings topped the Ball High Tors, 61-49, at home.
“It’s a lot bigger for us than it was for them, because we were at home, and I always tell people that if you want a chance to make the playoffs, you’ve got to win your home games and steal some on the road,” Texas City head coach Chris Mason said.
Texas City was led by junior guard Dayton Booker with a game-high 20 points, senior guard Adrian Sherwood with 16 points, and senior forward Tee’Shawn Garrett with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Coming up with strong performances for Ball High were senior guard Kevin Shinette with 17 points, senior post Javon Elliott with 15 points and five rebounds, and senior guard Tony Robbins with 7 points and five rebounds.
The Stings connected on their first four 3-point shots (two apiece from Booker and Sherwood) and first two free throw attempts to race out to a 14-4 lead at the 3:21 mark of the first quarter.
“(Ball High) is just so tough, they’ve got good size and everything. So, when we hit those early shots, it helped open it up a little bit for our big guys,” Mason said.
Later in the first quarter, a corner 3-pointer from Elliott cut Texas City’s lead to just 5 points, and for the remainder of the game, the Tors battled multiple times to get into striking range, but the Stings answered back each time.
“Texas City is a good team, but I’m sure we had a case of the nerves. But I take my hat off to them,” Ball High head coach Jerald Temple said. “I feel like we were over-excited, and we didn’t do a good job of executing. I’m sure Texas City had a lot to do with that, but we have to get a lot better a lot quicker.”
Ball High got to within single digits at 27-18 with 32 seconds left in the first half, but Texas City ended the second quarter with a 3-pointer from Anthony Davis and a steal and fast-break layup from Booker right before the half’s final horn.
A pair of Robbins free throws again got Texas City’s lead to single digits at 39-30 late in the third quarter, but the Stings ended the period on a 7-2 run capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Booker.
The two teams continued their see-saw battle until the end of the game.
Up next will be a break in district action for both teams. Texas City enters the Corpus Christi Pride of Texas tournament Thursday through Saturday, while Ball High returns to action 7 p.m. Friday at Clear Brook.