Roller Coaster Season Ends with Loss to Klein Forest

The Oak Ridge War Eagle basketball team concluded their season Tuesday night with a tough first round playoff loss to a very talented Klein Forest team, 66-52 at Tomball high school.

Klein Forest broke things open in the second quarter in outscoring Oak Ridge 31-9 in that stanza which was enough to seal the War Eagles fate. Oak Ridge lost the first quarter by two and won the last two quarters but with the Eagles resembling more like a team out of Rucker Park in New York City than a high school basketball contingent in the second quarter, it was all the War Eagles could do to make the final score look somewhat respectable.

Terrell Lawrence Led Oak Ridge with 27 points followed by D’Marcus Fitch’s 11. For Klein Forest, Tyree Gray and Rafael Farley scored 12 and 11 respectively in leading a balanced Eagle scoring attack.

Oak Ridge’s season was chaotic to say the least. With all of the health issues, the players who were healthy enough to play had to suck it up and play out of their minds. As for the coaches, this has to be one of Rob Stewart’s best coaching performances of his career. In being fortunate enough to know Coach Stewart, I know he’ll give most of the credit to his players and coaching staff. Rest assured, he is an awesome coach in that he knows the X’s and O’s like the back of his hand but that isn’t what makes him successful. What does is he has the ability to reach inside his players to motivate them to play to the best of their ability and they respect him. This is the kind of coach that wins AND teaches life lessons. Down the road, these kids will know how much they benefited by playing in a Rob Stewart coached organization.

Now, as has been the case, Coach Stewart will give you his view on the playoff loss and his encapsulated version of this insane season. Enter Rob Stewart:

“We had a wild roller coaster ride. Scary at times, but one heck of a rush! There is a coaster in Orlando called The Hulk. We once rode that roller coaster as many times and as fast as we could we’d run back and get in line. That’s what this season felt like. Now that the season is over, I feel like I did after riding The Hulk that many times in a row.”

“The season began with a great 11-2 start. During that time, we beat six of this season’s playoff teams in a row. We were looking as if we might make a very deep run in the playoffs.”

“We had already suffered the loss of one player as Danzel Brady broke his foot the first week of the season. If a team has one bad injury, that is usually it. Every team deals with two or three sprained ankles and some jammed fingers. However, what was getting ready to happen to us bordered on unfair.”

“Beginning on Monday, December 13th we started dealing with losses of players and games. D’Marcus (Fitch) suffered a severe high ankle sprain during our loss to Cy Ridge and he did not play for three weeks. On December 18th, Daron Gamble injured his knee at Klein Collins and he did not play the rest of the year. Michael Handy was not available to play in the Conroe Tournament and he missed one district game. We had two players lose eligibility due to grades, which is the first time that has happened since 2001. Marc Forson dislocated a bone in his foot and missed the second round of district play. Halen Butler hurt his knee at the Woodlands game and did not play again until the playoffs. In fact, the playoff game was the first time that we had 12 healthy players since the first week of the season. Chase Daniels was the only player that played in all 31 games this year. Last year, we had 8 players that played in every game. That shows how much change we had to deal with.”

“The Klein Forest game was a microcosm of our season. We played great for three quarters and had a terrible second quarter. Forest outscored us 31-9 and we only allowed 36 points the rest of the game. Even if we had allowed a 20 point second quarter, I believe we would have won the game. We started trying to play the way
that Forest was playing and that led to misses for us and points for them.”

“I am very proud of how we continued to play and fight through all of our adversity this season. I have said before that this is the most resilient group of young men that we have had. If they were not, we would not have won 19 games, been third in district and made the playoffs for the third year in a row. I feel like Coach Suchma and Coach Lucas also had a huge role in keeping our season rolling. They encouraged and coached like madmen this year to help our team be extremely successful. Our players and coaches fought hard every day this season to win.”

I know I can speak for all of us fans in our community when I express our appreciation for such an entertaining season. In a different way, this season was almost as exciting as last year’s Oak Ridge squad that got to the third round of the postseason.

We can’t wait until basketball season starts again. Kick their butts in the offseason Coach. This winning stuff is contagious.


Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

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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.

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