Fresh Tors bounce back, jump on Broncos early

Published 9:08 am Saturday, February 18, 2023

MOSS BLUFF — A big scoring outburst in the first quarter set the tone for the Sulphur Tors Friday in a 66-44 District 3-5A win over host Sam Houston.

The Tors jumped to a 17-3 lead and Zavien Trent, Kohl Navarre and Zachary Bates combined for 15 of the Tors’ 19 first-quarter points.

Sulphur shot 53 percent in the first quarter and 64 percent for the half as they used a mixture of buckets in the paint, mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers.

“I like my senior leadership,” Sulphur head coach Adam Coleman said. “Those guys had seven days to think about that last loss,” he said referring to the Tors’ 64-49 loss to Barbe.

“It was the longest we have gone all season before our next game,” Coleman continued. “That loss was on their mind every day in practice. We fully expected these guys to come out with a lot of fire as they did in the first quarter.”

Trent finished with 17 points, five assists and six rebounds. Navarre had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Bates added eight points and eight rebounds.

Sophomore Ian Malone led the Tors (26-8, 5-3) with 21 points, including 13 in the second quarter.

Sam Houston (17-15, 2-6) hit nine 3-pointers, including two by Maurik Senegal and Blaine Davey early in the second quarter to cut the Tors’ lead to 25-14, but struggled on the boards where the Tors owned a 34-14 advantage.

“(The Tors) are so senior heavy and have been through a lot together,” Sam Houston head coach Rob Acord said. “Ultimately the rebounds and the first-quarter start were tough.

“At the end of the day we are just so undersized for Class 5A basketball. We have to block out. If we can’t block out, we are really going to struggle.”

Seth Ned made a trio of 3-pointers and led Sam Houston with 14 points.

“They did a good job of getting the guys in rhythm 3s,” Coleman said. “It is not that we were letting them. We worked our behind off to prevent that. They did a great job executing good clean looks at the three.”

The Tors should receive a top 10 seed when the Division I non-select brackets are released on Monday.

“These guys are so mature and player-led,” Coleman said. “That is your best basketball teams — your player-led teams.

“We talked about the deposits they are making. They have made so many deposits into their basketball bank, and you could see the experience and confidence tonight. I am feeling as well as you can possibly feel about a basketball team going into the playoffs with these guys.”