On a night that started out silent, A&M Consolidated senior Reece Peel got the Tigers’ crowd rowdy by the end.
Peel got a steal in the open court and finished it with a dunk during a key third-quarter run, and Consol held off College Station 44-33 in District 19-5A boys basketball action Friday at Tiger Gym.
Following the decades-long tradition of Taylor University in Indiana, fans stayed silent until the Tigers (13-7, 3-0) scored their 10th point, but in a strong defensive battle against the Cougars (11-14, 0-3), the Consol faithful remained quiet a little longer than anticipated. A steal and layup from Consol senior Makel Williams gave the Tigers a 10-9 lead with around six and a half minutes until halftime, giving life to a previously eerie gym.
“I almost forgot about it for a little bit because it was quiet and there were a few free throws and stuff like that,” Peel said. “But as soon as that 10th point came, it was crazy. The whole gym erupted.”
But it was a 7-0 Consol run at the end of the third quarter, punctuated by Peel’s steal and slam, that gave the Tigers the breathing room they needed.
Junior Nathan Edwards grabbed a rebound and put it back in to put Consol up 30-27 with less than two minutes left in the third, and Consol senior Jaylen Harrison followed with a driving layup. That’s when Peel made his move, forcing a turnover and getting past a defender on his way to the rim.
“I tried to jab at him, and I knew it was there, so I had to show out for the home crowd one time and get it in,” Peel said.
Peel added another steal on the next possession, and Harrison split a pair of free throws to give Consol a 35-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Harrison scored a team-high 11 points, and Peel added 10. Senior Nate Floyd and Edwards each had eight.
“That dunk woke up a giant to a certain degree,” Consol head coach Andrew Daily said. “It brought the intensity level up even more, so it woke us up. Both teams were playing great, but for us to get that steal and exclamation enhanced our movement on the defensive side.”
Consol held College Station to just six points in the fourth quarter, something Daily attributed in part to the Tigers’ defensive adjustments to close off backdoor passes to College Station post Nick Panin, who scored a game-high 16 points.
Panin earned most of his points off those passes and offensive rebounds, but the Tigers held him scoreless in the final period with the lone Cougar points coming on a pair of 3-pointers from Treztan Garcia, who finished with eight points.
The Tigers also burned clock on offense, at one point dribbling near half-court unguarded for a full minute with a 39-30 lead. Harrison capped that possession by splitting a pair of free throws for a 40-30 lead with 3:52 left.
“Everybody stalls on us,” College Station head coach JD Sullivan said. “They want to pull the ball out and use their athleticism, and we want to be fundamental and play in a phone booth. At that point in the game, it was a great idea to give our guys rest because we had played less guys than them. We needed a one-minute breather, so that was as good as a timeout.”
College Station will continue 19-5A play at Rudder on Tuesday, while Consol will be at Magnolia West with both games tipping at 6:30 p.m.
A&M Consolidated 44
College Station 33
(Numbers after names indicate field goals made, free throws made-attempted, points.)
COLLEGE STATION (11-14, 0-3) — Owen North 0 1-2 1; Treztan Garcia 2 2-2 8; Jayden Hall 2 2-3 6; Scott Decker 1 0-0 2; Nick Panin 8 0-0 16. TOTALS 13 5-7 33.
CONSOL (13-7, 3-0) — Reece Peel 3 4-6 10; Jaylen Harrison 4 3-6 11; Nate Floyd 4 0-0 8; Bryce Smith 1 0-0 2; Nathan Edwards 4 0-0 8; Makel Williams 2 1-2 5. TOTALS 18 8-14 44.
College Station 9 8 10 6 — 33
Consol 6 11 18 9 — 44
3-pointers: College Station 2 (Garcia 2); Consol 0
Total fouls: College Station 12; Consol 11
Next: College Station at Rudder, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; Consol at Magnolia West, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday