Broncos to play first game in new gym, chasing playoff berth
By Rodrick Anderson
MOSS BLUFF — The opening of the new Sam Houston High School basketball gym was pushed back after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, but opening night is coming at the right time for the Broncos as they look to make a playoff push.
Sam Houston hosts Sulphur at 6 p.m. today in the first game in the gym. It is also the District 3-5A opener for both schools.
The Broncos (11-12) are ranked 37th in the most recent Class 5A power ratings.
“Three weeks left, starting district, opening the gym … we have a shot,” Sam Houston head coach Rob Acord said. “We probably need to go 4-3 or 5-2 in district (to get in the playoffs).
“We are going for back-to back playoff appearances in — I don’t know when.”
The Broncos haven’t made consecutive playoff appearances since at least 1983. Their lone playoff victory came in 1999.
“We thought we could be here last year (August),” Acord said. “It is a really exciting time for the community. We are glad to get in here.”
The gym seats just over 1,600. With capacity limited to 400 due to COVID-19 restrictions, tickets sold out on Wednesday.
Sam Houston has lost four of its last five games but has its entire lineup healthy and is hoping to erase the memory of a 48-39 nondistrict loss to the Tors on Jan. 12.
“I’m hoping the gym, crowd, being at home and opening district will bring the energy,” Acord said.
Seniors Tre Thompson (16 ppg, 10 rpg) and Dylan Chavis (11 ppg, 4 apg) are the Broncos’ top scorers.
Sulphur (13-3) has won five of its last six games.
“We are going to use the momentum we have from the regular season moving into district,” Sulphur head coach Adam Coleman said. “We don’t start ahead in any district game simply because we had a good regular-season game.
“I feel really good about where we are at and how much we are maturing.”
Coleman called the Tors’ win over the Broncos earlier this month one of the best games they have played.
“We executed about as well as would could play there,” Coleman said. “We will need that same focus to beat a well-coached and well-disciplined team that will definitely be ready for us.”
Tors senior Ashtyn Lilly has recorded seven consecutive double-doubles and is nearing the 1,000-point mark in his career, and sophomore point guard Zae Trent has averaged 11 points over his last three games.