By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – The fourth annual Houston County Holiday Basketball Tournament tipped off on Wednesday, Dec. 28 with pool play in both Crockett and Grapeland.
The five teams in Pool A were in Crockett’s Andrew J. Hopkins Activity Center while the five teams in Pool B played on the Sandies’ home court.
Pool A consisted of: the Crockett Bulldogs; the China Spring Cougars; the Fairfield Eagles; the Pollock Central Bulldogs; and the Westwood Panthers.
Pool B consisted of: the Grapeland Sandies; the Diboll Lumberjacks; the Frankston Indians; the Madisonville Mustangs; and the Trinity Tigers.
After the first day of hoops action in Pool A, the results showed China Spring, along with Fairfield, sporting 2-0 records. Crockett sat at 1-1 while Pollock Central and Westwood were both 0-2.
Day two started off with the Fairfield Eagles taking on the China Spring Cougars. In a matchup of two undefeated teams, the Eagles snuck out of “the Hop” with a 57-54 win.
Game two was a dogfight between Bulldogs as Crockett took on Pollock Central. Crockett was 1-1 after the first day while Central was 0-2. Although Central came into the game with a 0-2 record, that was perhaps a bit misleading as they had lost their two games by a combined four points.
It was the hometown Bulldogs, however, who prevailed by a score of 62-42. The Dawgs used a balanced attack to slip past Central as they were led in scoring by Jurmond Wooten’s 12 points.
In the third game of the day, Fairfield was back on the court for a game against the Westwood Panthers. While the Panthers were blown out by Crockett on Wednesday, they managed to stay close to the Eagles before Fairfield’s bench and physicality wore them down as they lost by a final score of 67-50.
Crockett tipped off its second game of the day following Fairfield’s win as the Dawgs took on the Cougars from China Spring. While the Dawgs took out a group of Panthers the day before, a pack of Cougars proved to be too much on Thursday as Crockett fell by a score of 62-42.
The final game in Pool A saw the aforementioned Panthers looking to pick up their first win of the tournament as they took on Central Pollock. This go-round, the Panthers luck seemed to improve as they won a chippy game against the Bulldogs by a final score of 54-44.
The Westwood/Central game brought the hoops action to a close in Pool A with the standings listed below:
- Fairfield 4-0
- China Spring 3-1
- Crockett 2-2
- Westwood 1-3
- Central Pollock 0-4
After the first day of hoops action in Pool B, the results showed Grapeland with a record of 2-0. Diboll, Madisonville and Trinity all finished the first day of the tournament with a 1-1 record while Frankston was 0-2.
The Thursday games in Pool B started with a matchup between Diboll and Frankston. The Indians fell behind by eight after the first period and could never quite get over the hump as they lost to the Lumberjacks by a final score of 61-29.
The Sandies took the court in game two for a highly anticipated matchup with the Madisonville Mustangs. It was a game the Sandies should have won.
Grapeland turned a four-point first quarter deficit into an eight point halftime lead. The Sandies led by 10 after three but could not hold on as they lost by one to the Class 4A Mustangs, 48-47
The third game of the day put a kink in things. Diboll was favored to win against Trinity but the Tigers had other ideas as they defeated the Jacks by 10 points, 68-58.
Trinity’s win thrust them into the conversation for the Friday championship trophy and significantly dimmed the Sandies’ hope.
Speaking of the Sandies – following the Trinity upset – Grapeland took the court against Frankston. The score was close through the first quarter before the Sandies opened up a seven point lead.
That lead disappeared in the second period after Grapeland only mustered five points while the Indians scored 14 and walked into the locker room at halftime with a two point lead.
The Sandies regrouped during intermission, however, and quickly re-captured the lead from the Indians and held on for a 50-37 win.
The last game of the night was a biggie as it would determine the seedings for Friday’s games. Madisonville took on Trinity and knew if they won, they would play for the championship. If they lost, however, Grapeland would slide into the championship game against Fairfield.
The Tigers fought hard throughout the contest and took a one point lead early in the fourth quarter before falling by a final score of 53-45.
The Madisonville/Trinity game brought the hoops action to a close in Pool B with the standings listed below:
- Madisonville 3-1
- Grapeland 3-1
- Trinity 2-2
- Diboll 2-2
- Frankston 0-4
After the action was complete in Pools A and B, Grapeland Coach Cannon Earp reported the Friday, Dec. 30 matchups would be as follows:
1 p.m. Central Pollock vs. Frankston
2:30 p.m. Westwood vs. Trinity
4 p.m. Crockett vs. Diboll (Consolation)
5:30 p.m. China Spring vs. Grapeland (Third Place)
7:00 p.m. Fairfield vs. Madisonville (Championship)
As of press time, the scores for the Friday games were unavailable.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.