Road Warriors

Humble basketball winning on road

Humble continues to roll away from home. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com

HOUSTON – When teams start to game plan for an opponent identifying the top scoring threats is first and foremost and how to stop them.

Put the tape of Humble men’s basketball on and a coach’s list of players to stop defensively isn’t short.

“I think defending our team that would be tough because there’s not a weak link out on the court at any given time,” Humble coach Lair Crawford said. “I would say it would make a tough cover for teams. A lot of that is based on making shots.”

As any season goes there are ups and downs.

Humble opened the season at 5-6 in its first 11 games before winning eight-straight heading into a short holiday break.

The Wildcats came out of that and played in the Kingwood Holiday Classic, where they went 2-2 – losses to Atascocita and Cy Lakes and victories against Oak Ridge and Kinkaid.

At that time, Crawford admits they were dealing with some internal issues but after some meetings the team came together.

Since those team meetings, all this Humble has done is win.

The Wildcats have won 10-straight games to push its District 21-5A record to a perfect 15-0 heading into Tuesday’s meeting with Crosby, which is 14-1.

“We’re just trying to play our game,” Crawford said. “Play fast and get the ball up the court. We seem to knock down more shots on the road. But when we’re hitting shots we look pretty good and when we’re not we struggle a little bit.”

Despite winning all of their games, the Wildcats have played noticeably better away from their home court.

In eight home games, Humble has averaged 66.1 points per game. The Wildcats’ margins of victory have averaged right at 15 points per game. Humble’s biggest win at home was a 38-point victory against Caney Creek on January 12. The smallest was by three against Barbers Hill on January 30.

On the road, in one less game, Humble has averaged 76.5 points per game, a clip of 10.4 better than at home. The Wildcats’ margins of victory have been by 27.57, a 12.57 uptick from home contests. Finally, the biggest win was by 46 against Dayton on January 23. The smallest was by six against Baytown Lee on January 16.

At home, the Wildcats have won only one game by 20 or more points, on the road it has been four by 30 or more and two by 40 or more.

“It shows they can hit shots in different gyms,” Crawford said about the team playing better on the road. “A lot of teams only play well at home in their own gym. Of course we want to play well in our own gym but when we get going in the playoffs we’re not going to be playing in our own gym."

“Our guys are kind of locked in wherever we’re at just knocking shots down.”

So who has been the key to success this season?

According to Crawford just start rattling off names – Jaylon Alsanders, Kendrick Washington, Justin Lawson and just keep going.

“This team there’s nobody that you can take away,” Crawford said. “If you try to take away guys inside we’ve got guys outside that can hit shots. We’ve got guys that can take you off the dribble. We’ve got guys that can spot up and shoot. There is no doubt it makes it tough.”

On any given night, Crawford said this team has five or six players in double figures. Usually no one scores more than 18 and about nine to 10 players can score at any given time for this team.

Alsanders has picked it up lately, Crawford said, while Lawson has averaged around 18 points per game the last few games and Washington has been Mr. Consistent averaging 12 to 15 a night.

Having a bench full of scoring options is something Crawford didn’t have the luxury of a year ago and that could be a major difference come playoff time.

“I think it helps as you get into some bigger games and especially the playoffs,” Crawford said. “Like last year, guys keyed on Kevin (Dawson). It forced other guys to step up and it just wasn’t there.”

With an experienced group of guys playing for him, Crawford said they will continue to just take it “one game at a time” down the stretch.

Humble is looking to win its second-straight District 21-5A Championship and complete a perfect district campaign in doing so.

The Wildcats have won 18-straight district contests heading into Tuesday’s meeting with Crosby, whom they beat 75-40 at their place earlier this year.

After Crosby, Humble will close out district play at home against Kingwood Park on Friday and then next Tuesday at Caney Creek for the regular season finale before the playoffs.

Humble’s history in the playoffs has been up and down at times.

Last season the Wildcats made it to the second round, prior to that Humble hadn’t made it past the first round since 2016. The last time the Wildcats made a deep runs in the playoffs came in 2015 and 2011 making it to the third round both seasons.

So can this scoring machine carry over to the postseason?

“If we get hot at the right time, if we’re making shots, the way we rebound and that sort of thing and play together we could make a run,” Crawford said. “The playoffs you never know. It’s about matchups.”

Being around the team every single day, Crawford said it is hard to think of just one way to describe this group.

For people that haven’t seen the team in a while, Crawford uses two words to tell the story of the 2017-2018 Wildcats – maximum effort.

“They play so hard,” he said. “I think that’s why we rebound the ball so well. We get on the loose ball, they really get after it for four quarters. That’s what we’ve been preaching lately. Some teams have been staying close for a quarter or a half. They have to play four quarters. Our conditioning this fall has paid off."

“This team really plays hard.”

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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