A sellout crowd packed the Clear Lake gymnasium Friday night when the Clear Lake Falcons took on the Alvin Yellowjackets. Probably the largest crowd to ever witness an Alvin game at Clear Lake. People were actually turned away at the door! For an Alvin game!!
Reason 1- In their last meeting on January 20, Lake beat Alvin by one point in overtime at Alvin so Alvin believed they could beat Lake on their home turf.
Reason 2- Alvin has the best team they have ever fielded in all my years of remembrances which goes back over three decades.
Reason 3- Alvin came into the gym tied with Clear Lake and Clear Brook for the lead in the district after the first round of district play.
Reason 4 – Alvin is a viable playoff contender this year for the first time in a long, long time. Okay, since the 93-94 season.
Reason 5 – As best I can recollect, Alvin has never beaten Clear Lake in basketball and this year it sure seemed like they had a chance.
Okay, so we know what motivated the Alvin players and fans. But the Clear Lake Falcons wanted to spoil the party for the Yellowjackets and spoil it they did in a big way. The game had almost everything you could want in a good high school basketball game: a very enthusiastic crowd, refs who weren’t too bad even though they were green (i.e. relatively inexperienced to be calling a good 5A contest), many outstanding plays, two excellent coaches and two well prepared teams each with a burning desire to prove something to their opponents, fans and to themselves. Everyone knew it should be a terrific game.
On this night, the Clear Lake Falcons showed why they should be among the top 20 teams in the state. The Falcons came out in uncharacteristic fashion and did not start out slow and spot the other team a few baskets. That was good. Alvin scored 4 points up front but then the Falcons took an early lead and never looked back. That was good. The Falcons were shooting well. That was good and also overdue. The Falcon defense was awesome and was able to hold their opponents to around 9 or 10 points per quarter. That was very good. The Falcons had their best third quarter of the season. That was very good. The Falcons had a total of only 5 turnovers in the game. That was great. There were several great plays and the intensity of the game made it a lot of fun to watch. That was awesome.
At the end of the first quarter it was Lake 17, Alvin 10.
At the half it was Lake 30, Alvin 21. By this point, Alvin has figured out that they are not playing the same team they played to a one point game in overtime less than three weeks ago. Alvin was still in it though. The Jackets made only one substitution in the first half and the lack of depth for Alvin would show as fatigue became a factor for the Jackets in the second half.
The Falcons went 9 of 11 from the field in the 3rd quarter to blow the game wide open. At the end of 3, it was Lake 53, Alvin 29. Lake outscored the Jackets 23 to 8 in this quarter. At this point it was all over but the shouting but the scrappy Alvin players were not ready to admit defeat.
Final score was 71-43. Alvin's #44, tough as nails and just as jagged, Jason Kincaid, led all scorers with 18 points.
There were several outstanding plays that made this an excellent basketball game. With 2:55 remaining in the first quarter, Connor Atchley made a steal in his forecourt and a breakaway dunk but came crashing to the floor with his legs swept out from under him and landed full-force on his back. A lot of weight falling a long distance. You could feel the pain on the 14th row of the bleachers. Connor jumped up and jogged back down the court like it was nothing and you knew how badly it must have hurt! That’s the sign of a champion. Fortunately, he was uninjured.
Or how about when Aaron Greenwood came down with a defensive rebound, passed the ball almost the entire length of the court to what was certainly too far beyond the reach of anyone and, in a fraction of a second before the ball crossed the end bounds line, who, in one continuous motion, should race to it, recover it, and score one of the most unbelievable layups in the history of Clear Lake basketball? You guessed it. Turbo Wijay. WOW! You wanted to think it was luck until you remembered it was his second incredible layup of the game. It was like watching one of those old Nike commercials on TV where, because of the sneakers the player is wearing, he is able to streak down the court and you see the smoke trailing along behind the path of the shoes before he jumps through the rafters.
Or how about when Chris Mitchell stuffed in his second dunk to quiet the crowd of disbelievers.
Or when freshman Armie Lewis calmly launched a successful, perfectly timed jump shot from 14 feet away as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter.
Or when Dan Rieke bullied his way through the crowd for a defensive rebound one moment and the next, with the grace of a ballerina with his back to the basket, received the ball and faked one way, then moved the other way to effortlessly lay in a really pretty left handed shot while the defender was still on the floor wondering which way Dan might move.
Or when Scott Oswald darted through traffic in close to make a bullet, no-look pass to Connor who adeptly layed it in.
This was an exciting basketball game with lots of thrills for the fans. With maybe only one exception, it had everything a Clear Lake fan could want. It did not have a “Nandi timeout”. Oh well, you can’t have everything.
Scoring for the Falcons: Dan Rieke 12, Scott Oswald 11, Nandi Wijay 11, Chris Mitchell 10 (4 blocked shots), Aaron Greenwood 9, Connor Atchley 7 (7 rebounds), Micah Walker 6, Armie Lewis 3, Ross Mahler 2. Lake's record is now 23-7.
In other district action, Clear Brook defeated Galveston Ball 55-51 and Clear Creek downed Brazoswood in overtime 55-52.