Pearland escapes with a close 62-61 win over Channelview

PEARLAND — The Pearland Oilers entered the game against the Channelview Falcons with one of the better records in the Houston area at 29-5 and a District 23-6A co-championship at 11-1.

Channelview finished in fourth place in District 21-6A with a 7-8 mark and a sub-500 record at 12-15 for the season.

But when the playoffs begin -- everyone is 0-0 and both teams had won their bi-district round as the Oilers beat Clear Brook while Channelview upset District 22-6A champion South Houston.

To say that the Oilers escaped with a win is an understatement as they found themselves behind for most of the game as the Falcons were firing long-range missiles that were finding the mark.

"That's the best fourth place team I've seen in a long, long time," Oiler head coach Steve Buckelew said. "We overcame it somehow. Channelview shot the ball extremely well, and broke our backs with the 3-pointers.

"We got frustrated, anxious and played with too much urgency."

It was obvious from the beginning that the Falcons weren't going to compete inside with the taller Oilers so they committed early to heave the long-bombs and let the game take its course.

Channelview lived by the old saying that they would live by the 3-pointer and die by the 3-pointer.

Ironically, it would be a final 3-point shot that would fall shot of the mark and leave Pearland grasping to a one-point 62-61 win.

From the opening tipoff, Channelview's 5-foot, six-inch junior Trevon Gibson was the driving offensive force for the Falcons as he launched four 3-pointers in the opening quarter for 12 of the 17 Channelview points. Kameron Kelly scored the other five points as Pearland held a 19-17 first period lead.

Kelyn Adams was the offensive sparkplug for the Oilers as he tossed in five field goals for 10 points while Javen Hedgeman fired in a 3-pointer and a short jumper.

The Falcons took the lead in the second quarter as Leonard Watts took the offensive lead with nine points including another 3-pointer while Pearland cooled down with only nine points. The 18-9 Falcon second period gave them a 35-28 lead at intermission.

Pearland needed to come out strong early in the second half and they did exactly that by going on a 7-0 run to knot up the game at 35-35 at the 6:55 mark of the third period.

Colen James had the hot hand hitting three 3-pointers, but Channelview got another trey by Gibson at the close of the third quarter giving the Falcons a 47-45 lead.

With 2:20 left in the game, Channelview had a 61-58 lead when Gerald Gardner hit the 11th 3-pointer of the game for the Falcons. But that would be the last of the scoring for Channelview.

Pearland cut the lead to 61-60 when Kenneth Brown worked his way on the inside for a basket.

After Channelview missed another basket, Adams was fouled and hit two clutch free throws with 56 seconds left in the game giving the Oilers the 62-61 lead.

The Falcons put up a long-range shot with 15 seconds and they were forced to foul Javonne Lowery who missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity.

That set up the final shot as Gibson tried to work his position against Pearland's pressing defense. The shot missed the mark and went out of bounds as time expired on the game clock giving the Oilers the hard-fought win.

"I had all the respect in the world for Channelview, but the kids...when they look at a team's record and see they've won only 12 games, they think it's an automatic win," Buckelew said. "Your record doesn't matter at this point. All I know is that Channelview was playing well now, and they just beat a district champion in South Houston."

Pearland is now 30-5 on the season.

Adams led Pearland with 21 points while James scored 12 and Brown and Lowery each added 10 apiece.

Pearland faced Atascocita on Tuesday (late) in the regional quarterfinals.