Tough 24-5A road for Falcons
By L. Scott Hainline
Tommy Penders has been around long enough to know when it's on.
Everybody in (District) 24-5A is very close," the first-year Clear Lake coach said. A bunch of us are battling to stay around, to hang around, and to keep positive because just about everyone is going to have to deal with some losses."
Four games into the 24-5A race and the Falcons were 10 points from perfection. They came up just short of Dickinson 67-62 and Ball 81-76, but beat Brazoswood 77-73 and Clear Creek 67-56 during a 2-2 league start.
Ball (4-0 start) has won two (district titles) in a row, and they have two tremendous players, and Clear Springs (4-0) has done it before, and then there's a bunch of us fighting to keep up," Penders said. It was a war against Ball, and that's the way it's going to be all the way through.
Clear Creek came into last week's game at 17-3, and even though it was a big win for us at their place, we gave one away to Dickinson, and we had a chance against Ball and didn't get it done."
Clear Creek (3-1) suffered its first district loss to the Falcons, who were tied with Dickinson (2-2), and just ahead of Clear Brook (1-3).
Look at how well Dickinson has played, and Clear Brook is taking everyone to the wire," Penders said, and even though Brazoswood and Alvin had rough starts (both 0-4), they're not to be taken lightly.
It looks like an 8-6 finish could very well get you in the playoffs."
Jacob Horton, a 6-4 senior swing man, is Clear Lake's top scorer with a 19.1 average, 6-5 senior forward Brick Pomeroy puts in 9.1 points per game (13 ppg in district) along with team bests in rebounds (7.8) and assists (3.7), and 6-2 senior guard Blake Gregorcyk contributes 8.9 points.
When coach Penders came in, we had questions about how he would coach us, and he did bring a different style," Gregorcyk said. We're more of a defensive team now, and we've cut our turnovers in half, from 20-plus to less than 10.
He works us very hard, but we know it's for our own good."
Pomeroy, whose middle name really is Brick, has been one of many to impress the new coach.
He's been real solid and has a great floor game," Penders said. He's exceeded expectations and has taken on more of a leadership role."
Senior direction also comes from 6-4 forward Jake McKnight and 6-3 forward Randall Hollimon, and point guard duties fall on sophomore starter Robert Lewis (8.1 ppg) and freshman Paris Clayton (7.8 ppg).
Having Lewis and Clayton step up like they have is a blessing and a challenge," Penders said. They're learning from their errors, and because there's no one else, they're forced to play through their errors.
With those two, the future looks bright, but we also have the ability to win now."
The Falcons wrap up the first round hosting Alvin at 7 p.m. Friday and visiting Clear Brook at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
This district gives coaches sleepless nights, but it makes for great basketball," said Penders, who came to Clear Lake from Angleton. I coached in a very tough district (24-4A) the past few seasons, and 24-5A is as strong, if not stronger.
Every game really is a war."
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