It’s been 60 years since the College Station Lincoln boys basketball team earned the Brazos Valley’s first state basketball title after winning the Prairie View Interscholastic League Class 1A state championship in 1960.
On Friday, four players from the title squad, James Steen, Sylvester Calhoun, Lawrence Sweed and Eddie Chew, were honored at the College Station boys District 19-5A matchup against Rudder at Cougar Gym. Floyd Clark, the other living member from the team, is in a nursing facility in Houston and was unable to attend.
Head coach JD Sullivan said it was important for his players to be around successful athletes who used to be in their shoes.
“I thought it was great for them to be there and be recognized and be honored. I wanted our players to recognize the greatness that’s right in our backyard and also how quickly time flies. [Our players] got to see them interact with each other and the relationships and the love that they had for each other,” Sullivan said.
Despite the Panthers’ accomplishment, Lincoln, College Station’s school for African Americans, didn’t receive much praise after its 69-56 win over Ladonia Clark on Feb. 20 at Prairie View A&M. Steen, Lincoln’s point guard, said College Station gave them a bigger celebration than the one they received six decades ago.
“It was excellent. College Station really did treat us well,” Steen said. “We congratulated them, even though they did lose (53-46 in overtime), and we were thankful that they accepted us so well. They probably gave us more recognition than we got 60 years ago. They reached way beyond what we had expected.”
Watching College Station play brought back memories from Steen’s time playing with the Panthers, especially the difference in the two offenses.
“It was different from when we played, but it brought back a lot of memories,” Steen said. “We did a lot of running and gunning and they passed the ball quite a bit. We shot a lot, and that was the major difference.”
Friday also offered Steen and his teammates time to reflect on their basketball season after not seeing each other in a long time. But don’t be surprised if you see the team back at Cougar Gym in the future. Steen said Sullivan invited them to join the Cougars on the bench during any game.
“I was thrilled they took me up on my offer to be with us on the bench,” Sullivan said. “...I think it rekindled their relationship, and I thought it was overall a really great experience.”
District titles on the line
With the girls basketball regular season coming to an end on Tuesday, and the boy’s season ending Feb. 18, the remaining games will decide which teams make the playoffs and which will take home a district title.
College Station and Magnolia West will decide the 19-5A girls champion at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cougar Gym.
The Lady Cougars (25-7) and Lady Mustangs (28-7) have been tied for first place since Jan. 17 and both now stand at 11-2. The last time the two teams met, Magnolia West beat College Station 66-65, igniting a seven-game win streak for the Lady Mustangs. College Station is on a four-game win streak and is coming off a a pair of road wins over playoff teams Consol and Rudder.
While Magnolia West seems to have the leg up on the Lady Cougars on paper, it’s hard to beat a College Station team that thrives under pressure at home where they’ve only lost two games. The first quarter will be key for both teams. The team that comes out strong and gains momentum will be the one to take it all the way.
For the 19-5A boys, A&M Consolidated and Katy Paetow have both clinched a spot in the playoffs, but their matchup on Tuesday could decide who gets the district title.
Consol (20-8, 10-1) fell to Paetow (24-6, 11-0) in a thriller 66-61 in the first round of district play Jan. 17, and both teams have taken care of business otherwise in 19-5A. Although Tuesday’s game will not make or break either team, it will most likely decide the district winner, even with a week left in the regular season. The last time the two met, Consol gave up a fourth-quarter lead from missed opportunities and turnovers, something the Tigers will have to limit on the road.
The Somerville and Snook girls will clash in a rivalry game Tuesday that will decide the 26-2A champion. Snook (21-4, 9-0) hasn’t lost a game since Jan. 10 and remains undefeated in district play, while Somerville (25-3, 9-1) is currently on a four-game streak with its last loss against Snook on Jan. 24.
The Navasota girls (15-17, 8-1) will face Giddings (16-15, 4-5) on Tuesday in hopes of breaking the first-place tie with La Grange in District 26-4A. La Grange (28-4, 8-1) is facing Smithville (7-14, 4-5), who is tied for second with Giddings, and the game will lock in the top four teams moving on to playoffs.