PEARLAND — Flowing better in certain aspects of the game, the Angleton Wildcats looked like they are ready to turn a corner after going 1-1 at the Pearland ISD Classic on Friday for the first day of the tournament.
The Wildcats captured the nightcap against Houston Wheatley 65-60 after coming from behind with a strong defensive fourth quarter.
“The focus and effort was there, we’ve had it the last few days of practice and it showed today,” Angleton head coach Thomas Josey said. “With the first game we lost by two, but that team beat us by 30 early on in the season, so I was very pleased with our focus and effort today.”
Busy hands helped Angleton overcome an eight-point deficit in the final quarter against the Wheatley Wildcats. Houston Wheatley committed nine turnovers thanks to a stifling Wildcat defense.
“We want to press but we are not there where we can go all game, because the guys feel more comfortable in a zone,” Josey said. “So we try to mix it up in zone and that’s what we did in the first half against Wheatley but in the second half it was time to go.”
Majestic Ford scored off a turnover to cut Houston Wheatley’s lead to 56-54. Then the Wildcats forced another turnover, this time Lincoln Archie getting a basket to tie the game 56-56 with 2:54 remaining. After Wheatley’s third consecutive turnover, C.J. Walker found Anthony Jackson out by the wing to give Angleton its first lead, 58-56, since midway through the first quarter.
Though they finished the game strong, were still times Angleton looked like a young team, with eight turnovers each in the first and third quarters.
“It is those young moments and it is something that we just have to live with,” Josey said. “We told ourselves they are going to make those mistakes and try not to get on them too much, but try to teach them a little more.”
Garrett Patton led Angleton (4-7 overall) with 22 points, but in the final quarter seven different Wildcats got on the board.
HOUSTON LAMAR 48, ANGLETON 46: With time winding down, Angleton’s Patton grabbed a missed free throw rebound and heaved the ball down court to sophomore Jordan Stanley-Pickett who drove the baseline and had a wide-open look, but missed it with under five seconds on the clock. Patton had an opportunity at a desperation 3-pointer but it clanked off the rim.
Angleton was down by 10 points, 44-34 going into the final stanza, but had a good defensive effort on the inside against the taller Texans. The Wildcats made a big push holding them scoreless for the first 4 1/2 minutes with Walker connecting on a 3-pointer from the wing and Stanley-Pickett driving the base line for a bucket, 44-39.
Both teams had various opportunities at the bucket but the interior defense by the Wildcats made it a close game disallowing the likes of Sir Issac Herron, Kennedy Ward and Luke Burton, all 6-foot-5 or taller, any room on the inside.
The Wildcats opened on a 9-3 run after Patton stuck one from the corner. Eventually the Texans utilized their height on the inside to do some damage taking the lead, 10-9 after Lawerence Dupree found Herron on the inside for an easy bucket. Ben Schidt also had a couple of assists to the inside as the Texans led 23-16 after a quarter.
In the second quarter the Wildcats made some adjustments to the inside work of Lamar and closed it within four points by halftime, 27-23.
Angleton continued hanging tough, getting within a point to start the third period with a trey from Patton (11 points), 27-26. But Texans’ guard Kaleb Collins continued his work from the outside connecting on two 3-pointers in that period and scored all 15 of his points off treys in the game.
Walker was the only other Wildcat in double digits with 10 points.