Down by as much as 11 points the fourth quarter, the Clear Creek Wildcats mounted a spirited comeback, even taking the lead at one point, but the Pearland Oilers managed to slip by with a 54-49 win in the teams’ Region III-6A bi-district playoff game Tuesday at Phillips Field House.
“It’s frustrating, but the effort that we showed there toward the beginning of the fourth quarter, if we had that effort all four quarters, I think the outcome may have been a little different,” Clear Creek head coach Wes Bryan said. “They did a great job of battling back against a very good team. We just didn’t have enough possessions.”
A drive to the basket by the Oilers’ Robert Charles gave Pearland a 44-33 lead at the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter, but then Clear Creek amped up its energy on both ends of the floor to go on a 13-3 run over the next 2:55 to carve its deficit down to one point.
Then, with 2:48 left to play, the Wildcats’ Calen Anderson knocked down an ice-cold 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 49-48 lead.
But, then it was Pearland co-captain Javonne Lowery’s turn to come through in the clutch, knocking down a midrange jumper to retake the lead, and then, with 41.7 seconds to go, coming through with a steal (Clear Creek’s only turnover of the fourth quarter) and fast-break layup to deflate the Wildcats’ comeback attempt.
With a slow, methodical pace on offense, Pearland led for the vast majority of the game, and every time Clear Creek got things close, the Oilers seemed to have an answer.
“That’s what I talked to them about all week, ‘Make sure you get a lead, because if you don’t get a lead, they’re going to slow things down on you,’” Bryan said.
Pearland scored five unanswered points to end the first quarter with a 14-8 lead. Clear Creek had a 10-3 run in the second quarter to take an 18-17 lead, but the Oilers answered with a basket to take a 19-18 advantage into halftime. Pearland pulled away in the third quarter, leading 38-29 heading into the final period.
“We just couldn’t make shots,” Bryan said. “We had some opportunities at the rim, missed layups, missed some things on the defensive end, missed assignments here and there.”
Leading Clear Creek were Nate Jackson (11 points), Donta Smith (nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks), Hunter Smith (eight points, five rebounds) and Kory Robinson. Rounding out the Wildcats’ scoring were Anderson (seven points) and Day’Shon Marks (six points).
Co-captains Ovidio Perez (14 points, eight rebounds) and Lowery (13 points) led Pearland.