The drought is officially over.
The thrill of victory had eluded Pearland in all five previous meetings against rival Dawson. The host Oilers were not only looking for some measure of revenge but also a share of first place in District 23-6A. Mission Accomplished!
Pearland overcame a sluggish start and defeated Dawson 53-46 behind 10 points apiece from Javen Hedgeman and Colen James.
“Our kids were determined tonight and they did a great job,” said Pearland head coach Steve Buckelew. “We were 0-5 against these guys so we finally got the monkey off our backs. It feels great to get a win.
“I have to say that without Karl Nicholas they’re not nearly the same team,” Buckelew said. “I think it would have been a good game regardless. I know we have a good team. But sometimes you get too personal with the other club and can’t separate the game from the relationships. We were able to do that tonight.”
Pearland improved to 26-5 on the season and 9-1 in district play. Dawson is 21-7 and 8-1. Dawson defeated Pearland 57-52 in the first round of district play.
Hedgeman, a 6-foot-3 senior point/combination guard, crawled out of his sick bed to deliver a clutch performance for the Oilers.
“He didn’t practice the last two days and I didn’t know what we would get out of him,” Buckelew said. “He played well and was the glue to our defensive effort.”
The score was tied 10-10 after the opening quarter following a basket in the lane by Pearland’s Kenneth Brown. The Oilers received momentum three-point field goals from James and Ovidio Perez to close out the second and third stanzas.
“It was a big game for us and we wanted this district win badly,” Hedgeman said. “It was a very competitive game and we knew they were a good enough team to come back.
“They out-rebounded us the last time we played them so we had to do a better on the boards,” Hedgeman said. “Our team defense was better and we also shot a lot better this time.”