Varsity boys basketball captures Anderson Classic championship

A strong showing at the Anderson Classic from Dec. 3-5 gave the varsity basketball team a boost going into the District season. It went undefeated at the tournament, while beating the likes of Langham Creek and Kingwood, to become champions.

“Hopefully, it’ll show the guys that we’ve been practicing the right way and been playing hard,” varsity head coach Robert Lucero said. “If we do practice like that on a consistent basis, we’ll get better.”

The team started out the tournament with a pair of convincing wins over Houston Chavez, 70-52, and Plano, 64-50. It would get considerably more difficult in the following game, where the team was pushed to the brink by Langham Creek. The Chaps would come out on top, 60-59 in double overtime, which set them up for a chance to win the tournament. Another good outing would see the team dispatch Kingwood, 58-47, to win the Anderson Classic.

“They’re all good basketball schools, so it was good for us to be able to compete and win the tournament,” Lucero said. “Overall, I was happy with the way we played; we got better every game.”

The tournament carried considerable weight, as it was one of the last chances to tune-up any issues before District play.

“We were just trying to figure out rotations and find the best combinations to play against the different types of basketball each team plays,” Lucero said. “We tried to focus on the small things that help you win basketball games.”

Having to beat Langham Creek in double overtime will certainly serve to improve the team in its ability to close out tight games, which was one of the team’s biggest issues from last year. Coming out of the tournament, Lucero said he feels much more comfortable with how the team performed in this particular area but knows there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“We won the close games, which was good for us,” Lucero said. “The situational stuff we’ll continue to work on every day. Executing at the end of quarters, at the end of halves, at the end of games — that’s important to us. But we have to get better at all those things.”    

Surprisingly, it was a pair of sophomores, Luke Pluymen and Matthew Mayer, who led the team to the wins. Luke finished as the tournament MVP, and Matthew was named to the all-tournament team. Both players will look to continue this level of play throughout the season, and they could become key factors to the team’s success.

“I shot the ball well, and we moved it well as a team,” Luke said. “We played really good team basketball, and I was just getting shots throughout the whole tournament. It’s really nice that we won.”

The Chaps also had a convincing performance on both sides of the ball.

“We weren’t playing that well [before the tournament], and we wanted to turn things around,” Luke said. “Eventually, we just went out there and played really well with really good team defense, moved the ball and shared it, which led to good things, so we’re really happy to win.”