Before the Devine Tournament began last weekend, Wharton Runnin’ Tigers coach Calvin King said he has expectations of the team going to the playoffs, and when they do it’s likely they will face one of the opponents that was entered in this three-day basketball contest.
If not for a last-second shot by Jourdanton, the Runnin’ Tigers would be owners of a clean 7-0 record.
Instead, they are 6-1, but they are better for it as the tournament gave both coach and players an opportunity to compete and for the most part win.
WHS earned a second-place in Devine, having beaten the host Warhorses by a 60-58 margin. High scorers for the Runnin’ Tigers were Joerell Davis 26, Fred Jones 17, and James Jones 13.
The game was close throughout as WHS led 15-13 after a quarter, and 29-27 at the half. The Runnin’ Tigers didn’t let a 19-point third quarter by Devine to cut it to 44-44 going into the final quarter affect them as they prevailed.
This contest was the last of four games in Devine.
It started well for Wharton as it defeated a Hondo Owls team that was already at 8-3 going into the tournament. Most of these teams had already played at least half a dozen games with WHS only a paltry three games.
WHS took it to them in a 77-43 victory to begin tournament play.
Like in all of their wins, the Runnin’ Tigers raced out to a sizeable 26-15 first quarter lead that was never threatened. At the half, Wharton led 44-28.
Davis had 29 points, James Jones 22, and Fred Jones 14.
The following morning, the 46-45 loss to Jourdanton came on a three-point buzzer-beater. The Runnin’ Tigers suited up against a team that was playing its third tournament and entered competition with a 5-3 record.
Scoring came at a premium, and it was Roy Gentry who led the team by game’s end with 14 points. James Jones and Davis had 10 each.
A positive in this game came in the second quarter when WHS’s defense only allowed Jourdanton four points to take a precarious 23-17 lead.
Players had several hours to think about the loss and rebound from it with a 4:30 p.m. tip-off against the Pearsall Mavericks, who received the brunt of the Runnin’ Tigers’ talents in a 60-41 win.
WHS really turned it around, earning another quality defensive effort in the second quarter, allowing Pearsall just seven points. It not only insured the Runnin’ Tigers of a 31-23 halftime lead, but an impressive win going into the tourney’s second-place game the following day.
Against Pearsall, which had already played up to 15 games this season, James Jones led the way in scoring, this time with 24 points, followed by Fred Jones 13, and Gentry’s 11.