by Joe Fisher
Eagle Editorial Board
The Eagles were 3-0 heading into the STH Invitational, seeking to win their tournament for the second consecutive year, but were facing some of the city’s best teams including The Village School and HCYA.
They began pool play against Northeast Christian, blowing them out 62-34.
The squad led from tip-off and never looked back with senior Chase Brogna leading the way by scoring 16 points and junior PJ Pane scoring nine.
Their next opponent was Second Baptist in a “Battle of the Eagles.”
The starters looked strong throughout the game until they were pulled in the fourth quarter and went on to win 78-42.
Seniors Jeremy King and Christian Sanders were the leading scorers for the Eagles, both finishing with 16 points.
With the win the Eagles finished pool play 2-0 and prepared for the gold semi-final game against Plano John Paul II.
Against Plano, the Eagles were slowed down on offense and defense consistently, as John Paul II held the ball for much of the game. The Eagles maintained patience though and came out on top 25-15.
Brogna led all scorers with 13 points and Sanders finished with 5 points.
Next was The Village School in the championship.
The Village School, a talented independent school in the Houston area, had blown out all its opponents coming into the championship game.
The Eagles came out a little slow and were down in the beginning and lost senior Darnell Theriot for the game after a sprained ankle, but after a couple of technical fouls by the Village players, including one forced by the Reckling Rowdies, and an ejection of their best player, the Eagles regained their composure.
St. Thomas was up at the half 27-22.
The score remained close in the second half, but the Eagles fell short in the end, losing 52-48.
Also during the last few minutes of the fourth quarter senior Doc Perrier was ejected because of a flagrant foul. Sanders led the squad in scoring with 25 points, and Brogna finished with 18.
That following Monday, Nov. 14, the Eagles played in the RCS Season Opener at the Merrell Center in Katy against Lamar Consolidated, who are ranked top ten in the state.
Even without Theriot and Perrier the Eagles played great in the first half of the game, especially junior P.J. Pane, who knocked down four three-pointers in the game and finished with 14 points.
In the second half, the team struggled to rebound the ball as King was on the bench for foul trouble but maintained a lead.
The Eagles came out on top with a 57-47 win; Sanders finished the game with 26 points.
The Eagles played two more games before the Thanksgiving break against Lamar and Second Baptist.
The squad defeated the Lamar Redskins 56-46, and Brogna led the team in scoring with 19 points.
A rematch against the Second Baptist Eagles ended with the same result as before, as St. Thomas rolled over Second Baptist 63-35. Sanders had 22 points, while Brogna had 9.
During Thanksgiving Break, St. Thomas hosted the Texas D1 Nation Jamboree.
The Jamboree included local Houston schools, and two teams from Louisiana. They played the Brazosport Exporters Friday night with huge support from the Rowdies again. The
score was close throughout the first half of the game and stood 28-23 St. Thomas at the half. The second half was all Eagles as they held Brazosport to only eight points and scored consistently winning 58-31. Sanders had 19 points and Brogna finished with 17 for the Eagles.
The next night the Eagles faced off against the Bellaire Cardinals. They faced pressure all night against Bellaire and were unable to pull away during the first half as the score was 24-24 at the half.
In the second half, the Eagles played better defense and played well on offense as Sanders finished with 32 points and Brogna with 18 in a 60-53 win.
The week after Thanksgiving the Eagles prepared for one of their biggest games of the season, against archrival Strake Jesuit.
The first half did not look good for the Eagles as they were down early, but a late offensive surge in the second quarter propelled the squad to a 24-22 deficit at the half.
But in the second half the Eagles fell apart defensively and were unable to keep up with Crusaders offensively as they fell 61-49. Sanders finished the game with 15 points and King had 13.
After the tough loss to Strake, the Eagles looked forward to the Sweet 16 South Padre Island Invitational. Their first round game was against Brownsville Porter, where the Eagles struggled to find their game in the first quarter, but recovered and led at halftime 42-31. In the second half, the squad found its groove and bowled over Porter 76-54.
In the second round of the tournament, the Eagles faced Austin Westwood. The squad handled Westwood with ease winning 84-62, and Sanders was on fire throughout the game and finished with 31 points, while Brogna had 18.
Next up was the Woodlands, who were undefeated.
The Eagles had their hands full with the Woodlands’ three point shooters all throughout the game.
In the second half, the Eagles kept the score close, but could never gained a lead and lost 45-41. Sanders had 16 points and King had 10.
With the lost, St. Thomas played in the third place game against Converse Judson. The squad came out and played well on both ends of the floor leading at the half 32-26. In the second half, the Eagles extended their lead to double digits and won handily 64-54. Sophomore Jamie Keating and Pane had great games coming off the bench, as Pane and Sanders finished with14.
Coach Danny Evans was pleased with his underclassmen’s performances in the tournament.
“PJ has been a real active defender for us and has made a lot of shots for us from behind the arc,” Evans said. “He was nine of 11 from the three-point line in South Padre. Jamie really sparked us offensively against Converse Judson. Both of them are adjusting to the speed of the game, but both are doing a good job.”
Last Tuesday the Eagles faced off against Katy Pope John XXIII. The Eagles had a tough time in first half as they struggled to score and get defensive stops. At the half, the Eagles led 25-24.
In the second half, the Eagles began to pull away behind Sanders’ 10 points, all in the second half, and Brogna leading all scorers with 22 on the way to a 57-47 victory.
This past Friday the Eagles faced off against Wheatley High School, one of the best teams in Houston. The team was well prepared for Wheatley though, leading at the half 39-33.
In the second half, the Eagles continued their game plan and won 76-57, playing one of their best games of the season.
Sanders and King played exceptionally well with 24 and 25 points respectively.
With the win the Eagles improved to 16-3 on the season and prepare for a busy winter break.
They will have a double header on Dec. 20, with games against Episcopal and Furr HS. Then they will play in the national division of the Torrey Pines Invitational in San Diego, Calif. from Dec. 27-30.
So far the team has had its up and downs with a tough schedule, but with district play beginning next month, the Eagles need consistency and will have no room for error.
“We have looked really good so far, and we are looking to improve throughout the season,” Pane said.