Pearland edges Dawson in district showdown 54-47

PEARLAND — For the past seven years, the battle between Pearland and Dawson on the basketball court has been dominated by the Eagles. Head coach Mark Barre has seen his hard-court warriors win outright or share seven straight district titles.

However, Pearland head coach Steve Buckelew has one of his better teams since the Oilers won the Class 5A Region III title and advanced to the state basketball tournament in 1998.

The Oilers are experiencing their best start in school history beginning with a 18-0 start in 2019 and now, with their recent win over Dawson, have improved to 22-1 with a 3-0 district record to begin the 2020 new year.

The only loss Pearland has experienced is a 66-60 loss to College Park in the Eric Medina Christmas Classic Basketball Tournament in Pasadena just after Christmas.

With only four seniors on the team, Dawson is 12-11 on the season and 2-1 in district as Barre has a fairly young and inexperienced squad, but that doesn't mean that the Eagles aren't going to be competitive. They are a well-coached team that will compete and challenge for the league title as the season is still very young.

The Oilers found out at the start of the game that the Eagles were not going to be intimidated by Pearland's impressive start to the 2019-2020 season.

Dawson fell behind early in the opening quarter 7-2, but the Eagles went on a 12-0 run to take a 14-7 lead before the Oilers closed out the period with a 3-pointer by Robel Desta to cut the lead to 14-10 at the end of the first frame.

The second quarter belonged to the Oilers as they outscored the Eagles 15-5 as six different Pearland players scored for a 25-19 lead at intermission. Desta led the offense in the first half with 10-points.

But Dawson wasn't going away as they road the scoring of AJ Richard (11-points) to go on a 15-2 run to tie up the game 37-37 entering the final frame.

Richard tried to keep Dawson in the game in the final eight minutes with seven points, but got very little help from the rest of his teammates down the stretch.

Meanwhile, the Oilers' D'antre Boudreaux, who led the Oilers in scoring with 13 points, knocked down seven points in the final period including a 3-pointer, two-point basket, and a pair of free throws to give Pearland the 54-47 district win.

The Oilers also used the free throw line to help them to victory. After hitting only 1-of-5 in the first three quarters, Pearland hit 8-of-10 in the final period to pull away from a tight game.

Dawson was 4-of-8 from the line for the game.

Richard led the Eagles with 18 points after being held scoreless in the first half. Conlie Christmas added 11 points.

Jordan Maxwell supported team-high scorer Boudreaux (13 points) with 10 points while Desta also scored his 10 points in the first half.

"I'm really proud of this team," said Pearland head coach Steve Buckelew immediately after the game. "This is one of the best teams I have ever coached here at Pearland. They are really a special group of guys."

Meanwhile, Dawson has only four seniors on a young team, but they are very aggressive on offense and defense and gave the Oilers all they wanted.

"You can't beat Pearland when you can't score for six minutes," Barre said. "They're up one point, and Boudreaux makes a three, and from that point forward it was touch. We also had a couple of layups that didn't go in. They took a couple of bad shots to help us stay in it, but we couldn't generate any offense.

On Friday, Dawson traveled to Brazoswood and returned home with a 62-50 win to improve to 2-1 in league action while Pearland visited Alief Taylor and remained undefeated in league play at 3-0 with a 73-46 blowout win.