Fal­cons over­come sus­pen­sions in win

Houston Chronicle - - HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL - By Adam Cole­man adam.cole­man@chron.com twit­ter.com/chron­cole­man

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.”

Wilf Thorne

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.

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