Pearland Oilers

PEARLAND — The 2017-2018 basketball season is underway for the Pearland Oilers and they are looking to challenge for the Class 6A District 23-6A championship after placing in a tie for first place last year with cross-town cousin Dawson.

The Oilers finished 30-5 overall last season and 11-1 in district tying them with the Dawson Eagles (11-1).

Last season also was a memorable season for head coach Steve Buckelew who earned his 700th career victory with an 83-48 victory over the Brazoswood Buccaneers.

Buckelew received a beautiful plaque and a cake to share with the team and fans following the win.

"For a guy that came from Louisiana and didn't know jack about coaching basketball, this is a calling," Buckelew said. "To see how bad I was early on and how much I've learned from guys through the process, it's the only thing God made me able to do.

"I can't drive a hammer or fix a car, but I can coach basketball. I'm totally humbled and I just give God the glory and credit because He made everything possible."

Pearland lost in the third round of the 6A Region III playoffs to a very good Atascocita team.

Buckelew, who was named District 23-6A "Coach of the Year" last year, looks at this season with optimism, but also with stark reality as he sees Dawson as the team to win the district followed by Alief Taylor, Pearland, and Alief Hastings as the four teams that will advance to the post-season.

Pearland has only one returning starter in 6-4 junior Javonne Lowery. But Buckelew looks for 6-2 senior Ovidio Perez, 6-4 senior Kevin Shead, and 5-10 junior Java'rius Washington to lead the team this year.

Buckelew sees his team as hard workers with athleticism and speed that also exhibits strong defensive ethics that has always characterized "Buck Ball."

"I like this team, they work hard, and compete every day," Buckelew said. "We could develop into a very good team as we are strong rebounding for a small team and we do have some depth."

Buckelew sees that his team needs to improve their overall shooting. The Oilers are presently 6-7 overall with the district season beginning at the beginning of January. That's when the real season begins.