Falcons overcome suspensions in win
KATY — Tompkins found a positive mired in a turbulent week.
If the Falcons can play the last two games like they have with one hand tied behind their backs, they might be even more dangerous at full strength when it counts.
They spun a negative into a positive with Friday nght’s 65-55 victory over south Katy rival Cinco Ranch at Tompkins High School.
In the same gym last Friday, Tompkins was part of a brawl with Katy involving players and other students during the game.
Katy ISD took disciplinary action Monday, handing down multiple suspensions for both teams. The University Interscholastic League is investigating as well.
Video of the brawl, reportedly started over trash talk between players and students in the stands, went viral.
The suspensions affected both Tompkins and Katy’s lineups. More may be on the line for a Tompkins team (17-7, 4-1 in 19-6A) with designs on a district title, however.
The Falcons have handled it well. They took down Katy Taylor 58-38 on Tuesday and just beat a rival to keep pace in the district title race.
“It’s been the longest week of the year going through what we’ve gone through,” Tompkins coach Bobby Sanders said. “But the eight guys we had eligible for tonight played like champs.”
Junior guard Jamal Bieniemy led the Falcons with 26 points, nearly keeping pace with Cinco Ranch guard Jay Jay Chandler’s 31.
Chandler hit a halfcourt buzzer-beater to give Cinco Ranch (18-4, 4-1) a 23-21 halftime lead. But the Falcons outscored the Cougars by 12 in the second half to eventually pull away.
Sanders said there is so much parity in 19-6A that winning the first meeting with Cinco Ranch could pay dividends later in district play.
Cinco Ranch coach Neil King didn’t see a weak point with Tompkins even if the Falcons were undermanned.
“We kept talking to our players about how it doesn’t matter who’s out there, we still have to go out there and compete at a high level,” King said.
Tompkins will continue trying to make something positive come from the brawl. Sanders said it is part of his job to help his players learn and grow from tough situations.
“It’ll be up to the other guys when they come back from their suspensions to do the right thing and blend in with these guys who have been busting their tails,” Sanders said.
In an odd way, the brawl and the suspensions woke the players up.
“We practiced really hard this week,” Bieniemy said. “Harder than we ever did. We started buying in more and more, and it helped us.”
Cinco Ranch’s Jay Jay Chandler, left, led all scorers with 31 points, but his Cougars couldn’t keep pace with Tompkins in the 65-55 loss Friday night.