Pearland Pummels Strake Jesuit In District Win
The Strake Jesuit Fighting Crusaders suffered a tough 57-31 loss at Pearland on Tuesday. It was the 17th loss in what has been described by assistant coach Dan Martinez as "an uncharacteristic year for [his] basketball program".
"Most of our games, we'll start out hot, but lose grasp of the lead late in the game," he added. "It's not like we've been blown out by every team, like a few weeks ago [against Pearland Dawson when] we lost in overtime. We should have closed out that game, but we let them come back with our mental mistakes and they made us pay."
Similar reasons plagued the Crusaders throughout Tuesday's game. To start, two of their shots were blocked and three of their turnovers fed into an 11-0 run by the Oilers. Head coach Dominic Amorosa called a timeout to regroup his team.
"[We] don't even have a shot off," he said looking into everyone's eyes. "Is this really how it's going to be tonight?"
Stern words gave life to a squad that was fed up with these types of games. Luke Thornburn, the senior Crusader point guard, led a 10-2 run against Pearland to close out the first quarter.
It was a little stint once Pearland regrouped in the second quarter. The Oilers had 20 solid points, while Jesuit only mustered four. The Crusaders had six turnovers and seven missed shots in their final 15 possessions, which was within respectable range of the Oilers. Down by 21 points at the half, the situation was dire.
"We're not guarding anyone, so we're getting run out of the gym," said Coach Amorosa in a timeout before the half. "If you miss a shot, you gotta hurry back to the other side [of the court]. That's the only way we'll stop the bleeding."
Martin Fernandez, the team's vocal leader at small forward, chimed in, "Guys, we're messing up the things we know how to do. This is practice stuff."
Strake Jesuit fought back with a quick bucket and three forced turnovers out of the half. Fernandez also shouted calls and cheers of encouragement down the court, so much that the bench began feeding off his energy.
Pearland, sensing a shot of hope in its opponent, quickly quelled such rebellious hopes with six points in less than 30 seconds. A timeout by Jesuit could not slow down the 16-4 run into the fourth quarter. If Pearland was not scoring off steals, it was gladly rebounding an abundance of missed shots. The score was now 49-18 and it was time for a new mindset.
"I don't care if we don't get any more points," Coach Amorosa began, not in exasperation, but with concern for his team's apathy toward scoring. "We have to stop the bleeding somehow...I don't care if it takes 50 passes, get the open look and keep from turning the ball over."
The fourth quarter had Pearland playing its backups, while the Crusaders attempted to clean up a 31-point deficit. They only made a five-point dent in the hole and were able to play their sophomores and juniors near the end. When interviewing assistant coach Jeff Caroll after the game, he explained that his team lost because "[it] did not talk. [It did not] guard anyone."
"If you don't score, you have to at least keep the other team from scoring," he continued. "It's that simple. I could talk to you all night about what went wrong. But, all we can do is head back to practice and try to fix it."
The game's final score moved Pearland to 23-1 overall and 4-0 in UIL 23-6A district play, while Strake Jesuit dropped to 5-17 and 0-4. The Crusaders did rebound with a 70-52 home win on Friday in the team's 'Silent Night' game. The event saw the home silent crowd wait until the team scored 10 points to explode in a dionysian roar of cheering. VYPE U's very own Robert Gounsolin was on site for the festivities, so stay tuned for his coverage..