The Clear Creek Wildcats and Texas City Stings on Thursday each went 2-0 on Day 1 of the Carlisle Kruger Classic tournament co-hosted by Clear Creek and Clear Lake high schools, and will meet each other in the first round of gold-bracket play 1:30 p.m. Friday.
“This tournament is so competitive,” Texas City head coach Chris Mason said. “You come in, and want to try to win a couple ball games and learn some stuff about yourself, which we have.”
Both the Wildcats and Stings played their Thursday games at Clear Creek’s Carlisle Field House, but the scene will shift to Clear Lake’s Kruger Field House, which hosts the gold bracket Friday and Saturday.
“They’re a really good team, and it’s going to be tough — they’re always tough,” Clear Creek head coach Wes Bryan said. “It seems like every year we end up playing Texas City in this thing. At 1:30, we’ll see how it goes.”
The Wildcats clinched their entry into the tournament’s championship bracket with a 53-45 win over Fort Bend Kempner and a 67-46 triumph against Houston Sterling.
In the nightcap against Sterling, Clear Creek got off to a fast start and never really looked back. Senior big men Calen Anderson and Hunter Smith helped the Wildcats race out to an 11-0 lead with five points and four points, respectively, during the run. A 3-point play the old-fashioned way from Anderson got things started, and Smith converted two steals into layups during the scoring spurt.
Clear Creek held a 21-11 lead after the first quarter, and pushed the advantage to 39-26 at halftime. Still, during the intermission, Bryan said he encouraged the team to tighten things up on defense — something on which this year’s team will look to hang their hats.
“We gave up too many points in the first half, and kind of lost some focus, at times, defensively, in the first half,” Bryan said. “I thought we did a lot better in the second half.”
The Wildcats responded to the halftime chat by forcing 10 turnovers and out-scoring Sterling, 21-9, in the third quarter to put the game on ice well before the final buzzer.
Smith’s 19 points led Creek Creek’s individual scoring in the game, and Anderson added 12 points and eight rebounds. Seth Jones also scored in double figures with 11 points.
The Stings opened the tournament with a nice 61-51 win over Houston Stratford, and staved off a scrappy Clear Springs Chargers squad for a 57-52 victory to earn their trip to the championship bracket.
“Stratford played a lot like us, they’re small and aggressive; Clear Springs is big and physical,” Mason said. “So, both of them were physical ball games. … That’s why I like to play in these tournaments. This is a great tournament with great competition.”
Texas City trailed Clear Springs by as much as 24-19 in the second quarter, but a 10-0 run flipped momentum the Stings’ way. The Stings’ depth was evident during the run, as five different players contributed two points apiece.
In the third quarter, the Chargers were able to re-take the lead, 35-33, on a ferocious slam dunk by Garrett Rooker, but the Stings were able to respond with a 9-2 run that stretched into the fourth quarter. Dayton Booker fueled the run with seven points.
A basket inside from T.J. Fountain in the fourth quarter gave Texas City its largest lead at 53-43, but the Chargers refused to go away, whittling that lead down to five points.
Booker led the Stings with 15 points, while Fountain chipped in 12 points. For the Chargers, Terrance Woodson had a game-high 16 points, and Rooker was close behind with 15 points.
OTHER GALVESTON COUNTY SCORES
Clear Falls 85, Tuloso Midway 41
San Antonio Brennan 54, Clear Falls 50
Stratford 56, Clear Springs 53
Humble 54, Ball High 53
Rosenberg Terry 55, Ball High 50