By Carlos Ferrand
The St. Philip’s Tigers wanted a rerun of last year’s championship win, but the Victoria Pirates grabbed the momentum and never looked back, winning 64-56 April 7 in McDermott Convocation Center at Incarnate Word.
The Tigers opened the game with a strong offensive, scoring on eight out of their first 11 possessions.
Kinesiology sophomore Jocorey Phoenix of St. Philip’s scored 10 points in the first 11 minutes, allowing the Tigers to grab an early lead 23-14.
Phoenix led the Tigers with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Tigers applied pressure at both ends of the court and controlled the game.
At this point in the first half, the Tigers appeared to relax the pressure and slow down.
The Pirates saw this as an opportunity to take control of the game.
“You cannot take off 2 or 3 minutes,” St. Philip’s Coach Jimmy Alcala said. “You have to play 40 minutes. If you slack off for just 2 or 3 minutes, you could change the momentum.”
Victoria took the momentum for the remainder of the first half, going on a 16-7 scoring run and taking the lead at halftime 30-29.
Victoria’s first half comeback was an offensive effort that included the whole team, with no one player standing out as top scorer.
Of the eight Pirates to score in the first half, one player scored 2 points, four players scored 3 points each, one player scored 4 points and three players scored 5 points each.
“We’re a team, and all 13 of our guys can go,” Victoria Coach Jonathan Anderson said.
The second half began with a back and forth battle for the lead, changing four times in five minutes before being tied at 36-36.
After a called timeout, Victoria guard Xavier Callis would rise to the occasion and start a run that would give Victoria a final lead.
“Tonight was Callis’ night,” Anderson said after the game.
Hitting three straight 3-pointers, Callis began a 17-8 scoring flurry that would last more than 5 minutes. The Tigers never rebounded from the first half’s shift in momentum, and the Pirates never slowed down.
“One of our Achilles’ heels all season has been our ability to finish a game,” Anderson said. “That is the one thing we have really been working hard on, and finally for the first time all season long, we finish out a game.”
The Pirates finished out the game 64-56 and were crowned 2013 Texas Collegiate Club Sports League champions.
“All you can do is put yourself in the position to play for a championship, and then you’ve got to go play for 40 minutes,” Anderson said.
Victoria also won the championship in women’s basketball and volleyball.
“It is a special day for Victoria College. We couldn’t ask for a better ending,” he said.