East defeats Sweeny in Titans opening game Friday
Dec. 30, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
Their dependence on pressure defense means there is additional emphasis on the Victoria East boys basketball team to be positioned properly.
The Titans excelled in that area and they comfortably defeated Sweeny during Friday's action in the 2011 Victoria Classic. They took a 21-8 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on their way to a 70-46 victory over the Bulldogs.
Ian Sharpless had 17 first-half points, on his way to a game-high 23. Guard Cole Wozniak sunk a trio of 3-point baskets for the Titans in a game they led by as many as 27 points at one point.
"We played so much better than we did on Wednesday," said East coach John Grammer. "We made some shots early and when we make shots early, we usually play well."
Grammer noted that predicting when that will happen is not easy, so his team has to continue to rely on their defense when the shots are not falling. In losses to Oklahoma City Capitol Hill and Trent, the Grammer felt his Titans were not aligned properly on either side of the court. He was happier with his team's positioning Friday.
As for Sweeny, it's been a tough season for the Bulldogs. They did not win a game in the Victoria Classic, and have won just four on the season. Head coach Brett Miksch liked the hustle from his team, perhaps exemplified by Chris Miller's 12 fourth quarter points, even when the game was well beyond reach.
"The main thing I was proud of was our team and their effort," Miksch said about a Bulldog bunch he admitted is learning to play all 32 minutes. "At times we do and at times we don't. We have a good group of kids who work hard and that's all we can ask them to do."
Trent Internationale tops West in slow-paced affair
There were times the contest resembled 1950s era basketball with all the spacing and deliberate possessions.
Trent Internationale defeated Victoria West 31-30 after scoring just four second half points in the final game of the first session of the Victoria Classic. Seth Rogers' 15-foot jumper with less than 20 seconds remaining was the difference in a game that featured minimal action for long periods.
The Phoenix were bigger and more athletic than the Warriors, and wanted Pat Erskine's team to play a man-to-man defense, so they could exploit that athleticism. When the Warriors refused and sat in a zone, Rogers and fellow guard Qua Doster casually passed the ball to each other for the final six minutes of the third quarter.
"Where I'm from, I'm from Philadelphia, I'm not from Texas. Where I'm from, if you are losing, you have to play man. You have to come out and defend," said Trent Internationale coach Eugene Harris.
"If you want to sit in a zone, we're just going to sit out here. It was a good chance for my kids to get some rest. They went ahead and pulled through in the fourth quarter for me."
When the Phoenix tried to deflate the air out the ball, they led 29-24. Nic Bufford's nine second quarter points, helped the Warriors come back from an eight-point hole and remain within striking distance. Bufford finished with 12 points while fellow senior Clayton Cain added eight.
The game stalled to a point, that Harris walked to the end of the bench get some water. When a fan demanded that his team play basketball, he suggested the fan direct their ire toward Erskine for sticking with the zone defense.
Meanwhile, during the break Bufford was in the corner of the court smiling and chuckling with Phoenix sharpshooter Solheil Yousefi, who had scored 14 first-half points.
All of Cain's points were in the first half; however, his larger contribution might have been on the defensive end as he kept Trent's 6-foot-9-inch post Ahmed Hamdy scoreless.
"I like playing against bigger people, I think it's more fun," Cain said. You just have to stay focused. It's more competition and more of a challenge."
Trent Internationale clinches Victoria Classic
One quarter decided the championship of the Victoria Classic.
However, there were few there to witness it, because it was the fourth quarter of Friday's 10 a.m. game between Oklahoma City Capitol Hill and Houston-based Trent Internationale.
Trent outscored the Redskins 19-10 in the fourth quarter to record a 61-50 victory and win the Victoria Classic for a second straight year. With both teams undefeated entering the game, the winner was virtually assured of winning the five-team tournament.
Six people scored in the fourth quarter to help the Phoenix pull away in a game that was 42-40 at the end of the third quarter. Ahmed Hamdy led all scorers with 15 points for Trent Internationale.
Nico Meadows had 14 points for Capitol Hill, and forward Josh Thompson added 10 in a losing effort.