Sharks tasted blood, Sabine Pass hungry for more basketball success

Published 12:08 am Friday, February 28, 2020

Chad Bryan said the Sabine Pass Sharks didn’t quite meet their goal this year, but what they accomplished was significant, and will only make next year’s team hungry for more.

“I’ve only been at Sabine Pass for four years, so I was trying to look back and find when the last time we had a winning record was,” he said. “There just weren’t a lot of years where we’ve been positive. We played 33 games this year, and we were 16-17. It’s hard to be positive after 33 basketball games. Since we’re a 2A school, it’s inevitable that we’re going to have to play bigger schools than us. To have a positive record through all that, that’s something to be proud about.”

The junior-heavy Sharks are almost all going to be coming back, Bryan said. The one loss though — senior Harold James will be graduating — will be a tough loss to take.

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“He does so much on the offensive end,” Bryan said. “He plays passing lanes well on the defensive side of the ball, and he was our leader. Next year we’ll have a lot of seniors, a lot of people who’ve been there. If we get to that spot again, we’ll be better prepared mentally, at least.”

Nearly all the juniors were playing better by the end of this season, Bryan added. Jeremy Fontenette, who hit the three point shot that would have put the Sharks up by one toward the end of the fourth quarter if a charging call had not been made on James, has even impressed Bryan’s wife.

“She was like, ‘Man he has been so much better just since last year. This year whenever you take him out I’m mad at you,’ ” Bryan said.

Bryan is hoping to see good things from his big, Khiamauri Lawson, next year, as well as from Grayson Johnson who has seen his points-per-game average triple this season.

“That’s a big jump,” Bryan said. “And he played the whole game last year. It’s not that he played more minutes. He just got better. He was more aggressive.”

Jeann Zuniga, who Bryan says rolled his ankle during practice last Monday, wasn’t playing at his best against Zavalla, but he was playing better than his ankle might have allowed.

“He showed a lot of mental toughness, and I know it hurt him,” Bryan said. “We might not have gotten 100 percent of Jeann but we got 90-85 percent, and he’s not 90-85 percent healthy. That was just him being mentally tough and saying, ‘I don’t care, I’m playing.’”

Bryan expects the Sharks will remember how close they came to winning a playoff game, and he hopes it will help drive next year’s team to be even better.

“Last year it was like, ‘Congratulations, you made the playoffs.’ This year it was like, ‘Good job, AND you’ve got a chance. You can go out and win one,’ Bryan said. That was tough for them, but I think having been in that spot and having that slip away, they’re going to come back a little bit tougher.”