Jordan Holmes goes high in a dunk attempt during the Tigers win over Hardin Jeffersoon at Ford Park on Friday. -Photo by Brent Guidry
The Silsbee Tigers won the championship of Dist. 21-3A in boys basketball with a clear cut 77-69 win over their cross county rivals, the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks.
The game was played at Ford Arena in Beaumont and was almost an exact replay of the first meeting between the two teams nearly three weeks ago.
In that game, Silsbee jumped to an 8-0 lead at the start of the game and built that lead to 60-39 at the end of three quarters before seeing Hardin-Jefferson mount a furious rally to cut the final margin to 81-76.
This time, Silsbee led 9-2 at the start of the game. Four different Tigers scored to get the Tigers off to the fast start.
When Chris Elam hit is second basket of the game after a beautiful feed by Patrick Reed, the score jumped to 11-4.
Late in the quarter, Jordan Holmes found the target from long range and dropped in three straight 3-point baskets. Some of these came from NBA range. By the time the quarter ended, Silsbee had a secure 20-9 lead in the game.
Early in the second period, the Tigers continued to build on their lead. The margin jumped to 29-16 when Jake Dobbins picked off an offensive rebound after Chris Elam missed a pair of free throws.
Reed, DaVaughn Thomas and Elam all hit late in the second quarter as Silsbee pushed its lead to 39-20. At this point Silsbee had its biggest lead of the game.
Right before the buzzer at the half, Holmes saw an open Thomas and hit him with a pass, which Thomas converted into a bucket to give the Tigers a 48-28 lead as the two teams headed to the locker room.
Thomas opened the second half with a pair of baskets.
Silsbee went right back to work. They expanded their lead to 59-34 midway through the quarter but Hardin Jefferson began to chip away at the margin and had it down to 64-40 at the end of the third quarter.
Many times the Tigers had seemed to fade in the fourth quarter.
This game was no different.
Zjori Bosha opened the fourth quarter with three straight 3-point baskets and after 1:43 was gone in the final frame, HJ was back in the game. They stilled trailed 64-53 but they were within striking distance.
Elam hit a shot to push the Tigers lead to 13 but Bosha hit four straight free throws.
He scored the first 13 points for the Hawks in the fourth quarter. After his scoring barrage the Tigers still held a 68-57 lead.
A basket and two free throws by Braiden Harmon cut the lead to eight at 71-63. This was as close as it ever got.
HJ attempted to foul the Tigers during the final minutes of the game. Silsbee is normally not a good free throw shooting team. However they hurt HJ with their free throw shooting in the first game and this time they converted 7 of 10 in the final minutes to claim the 77-69 victory.
Silsbee actually made 22 of 30 free throw attempts during this game.
Hardin Jefferson was 8 for 8 from the charity stripe during their fourth quarter rally.
After the game Coach Joe Sigler stated,” It was good to win the District Championship and not have a playoff game.”
He continued on, “Overall we played well. It got to the point we put some mustard on the hot dog. Several times we had layups miss and we attempted to do something else. They turned out miscues into 3-point plays. Our 20-point lead quickly turned into an 11-point lead in 1:43. We have to learn to do the simple things.”
According to Sigler, “People want to see us win and do things correctly. It is not about us it is about team. We got caught up in the moment and this put us in a bust.”
Sigler stated, “This game gave us a lot of teachable moments. We were holding the ball too long.”
He concluded by saying, “When you have teachable moments you have to take advantage of them and make sure you don’t put yourself in that position again.”
Bosha finished as the high point man in the game with 28 points.
His effort was pretty much off set by Chris Elam who scored 24 for the Tigers. Elam had a little more help than Bosha. Jordan Holmes hit for 15, Patrick Reed 12 and Davaughn Thomas 12. Other Tigers who scored included Kenrick Scott with one, Donte Wilson with five, Dobbins with six and Zayon Jackon with two.
Thomas was the leading rebounder with 11. Reed picked off nine rebounds. Jackson and Holmes were assist leaders with four each. Elam and Reed were the defensive leaders with three steals each.
Mays and Harmon were both in double figures for HJ with 17 and 15 respectively.
Other Hawks who scored included Sammy Mitchell with two, Travis Stevens with two, Cooper with two, and Jacori Williams with three.
Silsbee closed out regular season play on Tuesday at home against West Orange Stark. HJ finished its year with a game at Hamshire Fannett. The final game was important.
Silsbee has clinched the District Championship with an 11-0 record. WOS is 9-2 and the Hawks are 8-3. A win by Silsbee in the final game and a win by HJ would leave the HJ in a tie with WOS for second place.
The two teams would then have to work out shish team qualified as the second place team and which one was third. This is very crucial for playoff action because the second place spot is considered to be the best position of the three to be in for playoff prospects this year.
The Tigers next game will be Saturday when they play Kennadale in the Whataburger Classic in Fort Worth.
There will probably be nine games that day. The Tigers will play in the featured game at 8:30 p.m. The games will be played in the Wilkerson Gaines Activity Center in Fort Worth.
The hosts have provided the Tigers with lodging and three meals to entice them to play in the classic.
Kennadale is the third ranked Class 3A squad in the state. Earlier plans for a game with Stephenville were dropped when Stephenville cancelled out. Kennadale offered to take their place.
Silsbee now has won 15 straight district games and the Tigers have won 17 straight games.