Howard head basketball coach Walter McGary sees every day that his team is approaching that elusive level of play that even the most demanding coach appreciates: consistency.
And a wounded, short-handed Baylor team provided the perfect opportunity to script out a four-quarter game plan that would push his Hustlin' Tigers that much closer to the ultimate goal. With big man inside Brandon Walters looking much more than a football player waiting for Signing Day, recording 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, the Hustlin' Tigers won going away, 66-41.
“We knew they were short-handed, so we were trying to exploit that to a certain extent,” said McGary, whose team improved to 10-3 with its fourth straight win. “We finally started getting through to them about passing the ball.”
McGary two-platooned his squad; even Walters and fellow double-digit scorer Xavier Harris (10 points) sat out the entire second quarter. But each lineup worked on aspects of their assorted offenses and defenses. Howard spread the floor in the third quarter, the pressed and ran in the fourth. With only seven players, the Red Raiders could little more than scrap and battle.
“We've been working on our defense and exerting ourselves betters over the holidays,” McGary said. “We're not there yet, but we're getting there.”
Eleven different players scored for the Hustlin' Tigers, who were coming off a big win over Brainerd; rugged Tyner is next up, on Friday. Matt Clendenen scored 13 and Clay Born 12 for 8-4 Baylor, which only dressed seven players.
Baylor Girls Withstand Howard Rally
Both host Howard and the visiting Baylor girls each had a terrible quarter in the second half of Tuesday game, but the damage was too much for the Lady Tigers' rally to undo, 38-28.
For Baylor, Raleigh Clemens scored all eight of her team's points in the first quarter, then shared the wealth the rest of the way by dishing out seven assists. Clemens scored 14 points to lead both sides.
Baylor 10 11 10 10 – 41
Howard 16 10 18 22 – 66
BAYLOR (41) – Clay Born 11, Giussani 6, Lupas 2, Upshaw, Matt McClenden 13, Maum, Seaberg 8.
HOWARD (66) – A. Smith 3, Cameron 6, Walton 6, Xavier Harris 10, Brandon Walters 17, McCawley 6, Brummitt 4, Young 6, Brown 2, Jarrett 2, Byrd 2, Wynn.
3-point goals: Baylor 3 (Born 2, Clendenon); Howard 2 (Cameron 2). Records: Baylor 8-4; Howard 10-3.
Baylor 8 13 12 5 – 38
Howard 6 6 2 14 – 28
BAYLOR (38) – Raleigh Clemons 12, Carter 8, Simpkins 2, Kaufman 6, Hubert 6, Huckaby 3, Popp 3, McMartin, Smith
HOWARD (28) – King 5, Smartt 8, Rollins 1, Nuquille Robinson 10, Davis, Smith, Fitch, Eberhardt, Williams, Geiger.
3-point goals: Baylor 2 (Clemens, Huckaby); Howard none. Records: Baylor 9-7.