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Konro shows grit in a close win over Tomball

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CONROE — After appearing in the McDonald’s Invitational Tournament as two close games left last weekend, the Conroe boys’ basketball team made huge strides on Tuesday afternoon.

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When it mattered most in a non-zonal game against Tomball, Conroe shone, tending to the ball, shooting clutch free throws, and running out offensively for a 66-63 home win.

The Tigers improved to 3-3, while Tomball fell to 3-4.

“We had to play through things,” said senior guard Taffy Warren. “We played tough. We played through bad calls, some stupid mistakes and played four quarters. I feel like this team can do great things this year if we just compete.”

Each team led by seven points at various points in the game but worked to tie it at 47-47 with 7:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The score was 58-58 with 1:41 remaining before Conroe head coach Darrell Mason drew a stellar out-of-bounds play from the bottom of Tomball’s basket, leading to Rashad Saleh and a single bucket with less than ninety seconds left for the lead the Tigers would not concede.

After two free throws by Jarvis Harris to make it 63-59 in favor of Conroe, Tomball hit a 3-pointer to close out in 10.1 seconds. Harris made two more free throws before Tomball’s Manuel Ruiz fouled a 3-point effort.

“We can be a very good team,” said Harris. “We just have to play harder and play smarter. We just have to learn how to play together and get the little things right.”

Ruiz only made one of his three free throws, but Salih made one of his two to close it out.

Overall, the Tigers had 19 turnovers, but only three in the fourth quarter. In the final period, they made 10 of 11 free throws.

“We’re going to win, especially a hard win,” Mason said. The game can go either way. Hats off to Tomball. Coach (Mitchell) Doughty always does a great job with his group. Our kids stayed on the course and came up with a “W” letter.

“We have shown that we are a resilient team that can stay with it until the end of the game. That is encouraging.”

Warren (15 points) and Harris (eight points) are the only ones getting old for Conroe. But what some other Tigers may lack in experience, they make up for in talent, skill, and toughness.

Mason said Salih, at his young age, is the heart of the Tigers and “one of the strongest kids in our entire athletic program.” He had 9 points.

Juniors Taice Williams (eight points) and Gary Lewis are natural-born scorers. Louis Tomball punished from start to finish with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

But in the end, the Tigers go as Warren goes. And he’s ready.

“My jump shot is better,” Warren said. “I have better court vision. I find my teammates for open shots. I want Jarvis and I to become better captains and help this team win. Get to that second round of the playoffs. Win a playoff.”

Mason said this is the next step. It is no longer acceptable to just make the playoffs. Mason wants to do something once his team gets there, and he’s confident this team can do it.

“It’s going to take a team effort that starts now,” Mason said. “We can’t wait for the last zonal games like we did in the past.”

Conro opens District 13-6A at Cane Creek Stadium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29.

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