By George Slaughter
The Tompkins Falcons have taken an early lead in the District 19-6A race by winning their first five district games. Their most recent win came Friday night against Cinco Ranch, 82-62.
Overall, the Falcons have a 19-6 record, with a 5-0 district record.
“We’ve got a lot of talented players, that’s the first thing,” Tompkins coach Bobby Sanders said. “We’ve got guys with offensive skills and shooters. The offense is really clicking since we started district.”
The Falcons are led by senior guard Jamal Bienemy, who is committed to play his college basketball at the University of Oklahoma. He’s averaging 16 points, six assists, five rebounds, and three steals per game.
“He’s our defensive leader and our offensive leader,” Sanders said. “He’s really long and causes a lot of trouble for other teams with his defense.”
Senior forward Kristian Sjolund, originally from Norway, has also been a key player. Sjolund has committed to play his college basketball at Georgia Tech.
“He has really been holding down for us on his blocked shots,” Sanders said. “He can score from the inside and the outside.”
Another key player is senior C.J. Washington, who has scored over 20 points in each of the last three games.
“He’s really athletic and explosive,” Sanders said.
Sanders said that senior guard Eden Holt and senior Emmanuel White are also key contributors to the Falcons’ success.
“Eden is in his first year with us,” Sanders said. “He moved over from Fort Bend, and he’s really been helping us. He has a 47.3 percent three-point shooting percentage. Emmanuel, meanwhile, gives us a lot of rebounding energy.”
Even though the Falcons varsity squad is atop the standings, Sanders said the biggest thing he’s proud of is that all the teams in the basketball program are doing well. The boys’ teams presently have a combined 20-2 district record.
With consistent, strong play, it can be easy to be lulled into complacency. How does Sanders keep the complacency from happening?
“That’s a good question,” Sanders said. “I hope I can do that.”
One way the Falcons do this is to set smaller goals. For example, Sanders said, a defensive goal per game is to hold the opponent to a certain number of points in a given quarter. The Falcons focus not so much on winning but on playing their best, he said.
For the varsity squad, its early lead in the standings is a small one. Morton Ranch (16-7, 4-1) is in the middle of things, as are Katy (16-7, 4-1) and Seven Lakes (18-8, 3-2).
The Falcons and Spartans play at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Seven Lakes in this week’s key matchup.
Upcoming Tuesday games, all at 7 p.m.
- Cinco Ranch (11-13, 1-4) at Strake Jesuit (16-10, 2-3)
- Katy (16-7, 4-1) at Taylor (15-9, 2-3)
- Mayde Creek (4-17, 0-5) at Morton Ranch (16-7, 4-1)
- Tompkins (19-6, 5-0) at Seven Lakes (18-8, 3-2)
Upcoming Friday games, all at 7 p.m.
- Cinco Ranch at Katy
- Morton Ranch at Tompkins
- Strake Jesuit at Seven Lakes
- Taylor at Mayde Creek