The Huntsville Hornets exacted revenge last night in a 61-44 win against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs a season ago, the Tomball Wildcats.
From beginning to end, the Hornets were tougher, more athletic and more experienced than the Wildcats. Defensively, the Hornets were buzzing all over the court with their full court press, which gave them a lot of easy fast break points. Both teams were led by experienced seniors. Huntsville’s Rico Bennett ended with 18 points, five rebounds and three blocks, alongside Darius Williams, who had 16 points and four rebounds. Peyton Stevens and Tyler Moore were the go-to men for Tomball with 10 and 12 points, respectively.
The Hornets could easily beat many teams this season with their athleticism, but what could really separate them from other teams is increasing their discipline on both ends of the court. On the defensive side, Huntsville can interrupt a lot of plays with active hands and jumping passing lanes, but there are times it can be too much and get them out of position easily.
Another area of improvement for Huntsville is its half court offense. A lot of the team’s points scored came off of fast breaks, but when they were forced to play in the half court, the Hornets looked puzzled. They ran mainly one play the entire game each trip down the floor and most of their half court points came from offensive rebounds and put backs. The Hornets must find a way to score the ball with more off-ball movement, good passing, and disciplined cuts to elevate their play.
Bennett and Williams will be the most important components for the Hornets. Both are talented ball handlers, athletic, and tough players who lead this team. They gelled nicely and seem to be in sync on the court. Each of them can rebound the ball on one end and finish on the other in a very quick fashion.
Another strong suit of the Hornets is the intensity they play with on defense. Although they gamble at times too much, they forced Wildcats to play behind the three-point arc with their defensive pressure that started at the tip. Since they made Tomball play on the perimeter, they could freely switch all of their players because they never played a true post the entire game.
Moving forward, the Hornets need to patch up their flaws before heading into district play in hopes of competing for that coveted district title that will be fought over between Livingston, Caney Creek, College Station, A&M Consolidated, Willis, Bryan, and Rudder. Huntsville definitely has the base for that district title, but it all lies in the fine details for this team. The Hornets will compete in the Houston Christian Tournament starting Thursday.
Garrett Robertson is a new contributor to Texas Top 100, covering teams in the College Station area. Follow him on Twitter at @garrettrob.