War Eagles Clinch Playoff Spot With Big Win Over Lufkin

In defeating Lufkin 79-53 on Tuesday night, the Oak Ridge boys basketball team effectively knocked the Panthers out of the District 14-5A playoff picture. More importantly, the War Eagles clinched a playoff berth of their own and will now play Kingwood next Tuesday to decide second place.

The War Eagles (19-10 and 7-4), led by a sizzling Terrell Lawrence jumped out quick and never looked back as Lawrence connected on three three-balls in the first quarter.

Lufkin falls to 15-15 and 3-7 in district. They were led by JJ Baldwin who scored 21 points. Terrell Lawrence led Oak Ridge with 26 points. Taw Mann scored 12 and Chase Daniels tallied another 11.

The way the War Eagles played on Tuesday night was indicative of their balls to the wall-who cares who we are missing-lets kick some butt manner with which they’ve played the entire season. In rarely having the same line-up for two games in a row, this is the only way the War Eagles can be successful.

This just in!!! They are quite good at it. Coach Rob Stewart and his staff have led their charges to the playoffs three seasons in a row. With the playoffs looming, once again the War Eagles are playing excellent basketball when it counts the most.

Before games, how many times have you heard that certain players are missing so don’t expect much. They’ve been missing guys all season and you know what, if it doesn’t mean squat to the team, it should mean jack-squat to us fans. But I digress. Time for someone with some basketball knowledge to let you know the current state of Oak Ridge boys basketball affairs. Enter Rob Stewart:

“Someone took a picture of a pile-up that occurred during the game and that was indicative of how we played all night. Both teams played their tails off for 32 minutes. Lufkin was playing to keep their playoff hopes alive and we were playing to clinch a playoff spot and move up in the standings. Terrell went crazy in the first quarter. He had 11 pts, he went 3 for 3 from behind the arc.

Lufkin Coach McManus had some surprises for us. Lufkin played us most of the game in a zone press. They have not done that all year, so we didn’t practice for it. Michael (Handy)and Chase (Daniels) did a great job adjusting our game plan to fit Lufkin’s trap.

Michael and Chase have really been the reasons that we have won three games the second round of district.

We had two more injuries. Halen (Butler) strained his knee on Saturday when we played Woodlands. Marc (Forson) played his first full game on Saturday since being injured, then he hurt his foot in practice on Monday. So, neither of those guys played. We hope to have them back by  the Kingwood game. Rudy Robinson made his first start of the year in a pressure packed situation and did great! Rudy has been a defensive specialist most of the year, so his role changed a lot with the injuries we had last week. Tanner (Doyel) had been sick on Monday and did not practice. He played one of his best games of the year. He is a pretty tough freshman!

This team is the most resilient group that I have ever coached. If they weren’t, we would have been out of the playoffs long before now. Taw (Mann) and Terrell (Lawrence) really shut their bigs down last night. Their bigs combined for a total of six points! Taw has become a good defender for us. He has made the biggest improvements defensively on our team this year. It was a huge win. I think I have said that before, but it’s true. We clinched a playoff spot for the third year in a row. Kingwood and College Park losing helped us too. If we can win on Tuesday at Kingwood, we will secure 2nd place.”

Let’s all make it to Kingwood next week! This team’s been busted their rumps all year. We owe them a great turnout. We need to start following these guys around like we did last year deep into the state playoffs. Starting next week with the last regular season game in Kingwood, the playoffs actually start now people!

See you in Kingwood!!!

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

More Posts - Website