Dawson captures District 22-6A basketball crown

PEARLAND — Dawson head coach Mark Barre has seen his roundballers mature as the season has progressed. Early in the year, the Eagles played well enough to win, but the passion and intensity wasn't really there which is frustrating to a coach that is as intense and competitive as Barre.

At times there was frustration as Barre didn't know which team was going to show up on the court of battle.

But there was no question when the Eagles faced the South Houston Trojans last week with the district title on the line and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs going to the winner.

Both teams entered the game with only one loss. South Houston beat Dawson in the first round, but the Trojans fell to Manvel 69-65 leaving both squads with one blemish on their district record.

Dawson matched the fast tempo of the Trojans and surpassed the hustle of the home team as the Eagles were leaping high, diving for loose balls, and showed a determination and desire that characterizes a Barre-coached team.

The end result was a 56-47 victory that gave the Eagles the district title for the second straight year.

Dawson has been the top team in the district over the past five years after posting a 68-6 record including two consecutive league crowns.

South Houston came out strong in the opening eight minutes to outscore the Eagles 12-8 as the Trojans were led by Dralyn Brown who scored six points while three other players added a basket each.

Jules Moor drained a 3-pointer while Karl Nicholas and Anthony Johnson each scored a basket.

But the pace intensified in the second period as the Eagles nipped the Trojans 12-9 leaving South Houston with a 21-20 lead at intermission.

The strength for the Eagles came down to the free throw line in the second frame as Dawson hit 4-of-4 from the line to go with four baskets.

The second half would be the difference for both teams in their quest to grab the district ring.

“I told our guys at halftime that if we turn it over or we don’t get a shot up, we haven’t even gotten a chance to do what we do best, which is rebounding,” Barre said. “We had 9 or 10 turnovers in the first half.

We adjusted our zone offense a little so that we had a guy running the baseline, and then we worked the posts back and forth. On the defensive end, we just made stops.”

The game continued back-and-forth in the second half with the Eagles taking a 36-34 lead with less than a minute left in the third quarter as Nicholas rebounded a missed shot to score under the basket.

It would be a lead that the Eagles would never give up as Nicholas and Moor scored two more baskets for a 40-34 advantage entering the final stanza.

The game continued to be a dog-fight down the stretch, but Dawson was the one scoring while their suffocating defense shutdown the Trojans aggressive offense.

South Houston got as close as 46-40 with three minutes left to go in the game and then the Eagles began their parade to the free throw line.

Free throws has always been a challenge for the Eagles, but the charity stripe actually became their friend as they hit 14-of-17 in the final period and 19-of-28 for the game.

Dawson took the final quarter 20-13 to post the 56-47 final score on the Trojans home court to avenge the first round loss to South Houston at the Eagles' Nest.

Moor led the Eagles in scoring with 19 points including 8-of-10 from the line.

Nicholas added 10 points while grabbing nine rebounds and one steal.

Paul Taulton was big on the boards with eight while Moor grabbed four and had two steals.

The sparkplug of the offense and defense had to go to Trey Barrett with Nicholas, Taulton, and Braxton Lovings adding the emotional charge that the Eagles have been looking for all season.

“Some teams just try to get in the playoffs, but we start every year with the goal of winning a district championship,” Barre said. “At the end of the game tonight, nobody rushed the court. “That’s not us, and this game wasn’t easy.” Dawson finished the regular season with a 24-8 overall mark and 15-1 in league play. The Eagles will have a week off until they begin the playoffs.