OTR’s Game of the Night (Hightower vs Texas City 2/25/19)

Pulling up to Pearland HS, I thought they were giving away Cardi B rodeo tickets! It was cars lined up a mile past the school to watch these two teams get it on. Texas City and Mo City were deep, and it was definitely a real live “win or go home” feel.

It was easy to see both teams fed off of the crowd to start the game, Chris Felix got Hightower going early starting the game knocking down his 1st two shots and  three free throws to get his team going. Bryce Griggs would also get in the books early on igniting the crowd after hitting back to back three pointers on the wing. The big time back court had Hightower up 19-9 at the end of the 1st quarter.

In the 2nd frame Texas City began to settle down and enforce their toughness on the Hurricanes. After switching to a “run and jump” defense, they forced several turnovers in a row and drives to the basket by Phillip McDaniel and Tj Fountain, they found themselves down 21-19. The last few minutes of the quarter there seemed to be a lid on the basket for Hightower, as they missed 8 free throws in a row! Texas City had the momentum in the 2nd quarter getting easy lay ups and confusing Hightower with their switching defense. Cameron Collins got a HUGE steal & dunk at the end of the half to tie the game up at 27. I knew the Canes went cold, but I didn’t realize how cold, until I saw on the scoresheet that Collins’ dunk was on the basket they scored in the quarter.

The 3rd period belonged to the “big fella” Tj Fountain, he was handling the ball, going between his legs, getting lay ups, & dropping backdoor dimes for lay ups. At 5’11 215 lbs he was a bully for Texas City. His team would feed off of the crowd and his energy. Hightower struggled with shot selection, and getting in rhythm offensively, they couldn’t buy consecutive baskets. Texas City would take a 39-34 lead heading into the 4th.

I wasn’t sure if Hightower would be able to overcome the crowd, TC’s physical play , and a 5 point deficit going into the last quarter. Hightower got a lay up by Griggs to cut the lead to 40-37, then Chris Harris knocked down a corner 3 to tie the game at 40. IF they would have played Z-RO’s “Mo City Don” after that shot it woulda blew the roof off of Pearland! Tj Fountain got fouled on a tough call, knocked down both free throws and TC would take the lead 42-40. After a couple of empty possessions for both teams, Hightower forced another turnover & almost turned it back over but Kevin McGaskey found Collins again for another dunk to give Hightower a 48-46 lead. Now follow closely because this is where the game would get hairy… After the dunk by Collins, TC would be stopped on their next offensive possession. Hightower would attack the paint and Felix grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled, he converted one out of two shots to give the Hurricanes the lead, 49-46, with 1 minute to go. The very next play, Griggs got a steal and made a “freshman mistake” and tried to get a layup instead of running the clock out, and he missed it! TC would grab the board and you guessed it, TJ Fountain would lay the ball in with 35 seconds to go, and down 1 point 49-48. Hightower in bounded the ball and TC tried to trap them to force a turnover but ultimately fouled Chris Harris, where he would miss the front end of the 1 and 1. Time out TC! With 11 seconds left in the game, I’m sure the TC coach drew up a play getting the ball to the rim to try to draw a foul at least, I’m not sure what happened between the time out and the ball being thrown in, but what they got was a 30 ft 3 point attempt with 4 second left… Definitely a TOUGH way for them to end this great game like this. Hightower would prevail 49-48 and make their way to the regionals! 2021 guard Chris Felix finished with 12 points, and Bruce Griggs finished with 19. For Texas City TJ Fountain scored 14 points.

I got a chance to ask coach Stephen Woods his thoughts on his team’s performance.

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