Do not be fooled by the final score.
What flashed across social media platforms as an easy 67-43 Texas City win over Port Neches-Groves in a boys Region III-6A bi-district victory on Tuesday night was anything but easy.
The Stingrees found themselves in a snarling, physical dog fight, leading 37-34 with less than three minutes to go in the third period. Then the TC dogs got loose.
Within a few minutes, Texas City’s wealth of depth ripped off an 18-2 burst as the Stings outscored the Indians 41-19 in the second half.
“It was hard to get a good rhythm going when they foul, and you miss free throws. We never could get set,’’ said Stings head coach Chris Mason. “What we try to do all year, because of our lack of size, we try to generate offense with our defense. When we’re not shooting 3s very well, we always seem to get a lot of easy buckets off the defense.”
Texas City, which won its 30th game of the season, will take an 11-game win streak into the area round. The victory was the 21st in the last 22 starts for TC.
The trouble spot for the Indians, which finished 18-15, was turnovers – 29 of them, to be exact, including 16 in the second half when PN-G saw its chances to win evaporate.
“The wheels seemed to fall off when our kid got his eye busted open a bit. Maybe we reacted the wrong way and didn’t compose ourselves,” PN-G coach Pat Abel said of the rugged play in the lane area during an intense third quarter.
“(Texas City) stepped it up from that point,” Abel said. “The defense got even better than it was in the first and we struggled scoring.”
Offense was a challenge for the Stings, too, until a wave of turnovers, fastbreaks and layups turned the game’s momentum completely upside down.
T.J. Fountain and Jacolby Belle dominated the last 10 minutes of the game with easy buckets around the rim. F
ountain finished with 22 points while Belle dropped in 12 fourth-period points in a flying finish by the Stings.
Drake Rojas led the Indians with 10 points while Jackson Simmons, Brady Nail and Trent Lee added eight apiece. Tracy Smith, a 6-foot-5 senior, was held to five points, but he did grab 15 rebounds.