NEW CANEY — For New Caney boys basketball, there were a lot of firsts on the occasion Tuesday afternoon.
It was the Eagles’ first home game of the season and also their first meeting of the season with rival Porter.
And it resulted in New Caney’s first win in nearly a month and their first District 20-5A victory of the season.
The Eagles got off to a big start in the first quarter and clung to a 53-50 win over the Spartans.
New Caney (4-4, 1-1) last won a game on Nov. 23. Shortly after that victory over Tomball Memorial, New Caney was forced into quarantine for almost three weeks. That stretch off resulted in quite a few cancellations on the schedule and made for the last game before Christmas as the first home contest.
The Eagles lost at Brenham and Kingwood Park last week upon their return to the hardwood.
Against Porter (5-6, 1-1), New Caney burst out to a 15-5 start in the first quarter, including a 19-0 run that ran the score out to 20-5 by the 5:59 mark of the second quarter
“I think it was playing at home,” New Caney coach Matt Farmer said of the fast start. “This was our first home game and I think the kids were really excited to be at home and opening up district here with Porter which is a huge rival for the kids. It was just a lot of energy and I felt that would give us a big push.”
Sophomore Jaxon Olvera had 11 of those points early for New Caney, including a 3-pointer.
New Caney cooled off and Porter went on a 12-0 run to close the first half and bring the game to a 23-17 deficit at halftime. Senior Colby Christian and junior Luke Currier each knocked down a 3-pointer in the run.
Porter was without a starter and its first man off the bench.
“Early in the ball game, we dug ourselves too deep of a hole,” Porter coach Tobin Reid said. “I think it was because we weren’t quite ready to come out. We had some guys playing in some different positions because of two guys who are out that are sick, but not related to COVID. They’re out right now and that makes some guys step up and have to play in some different positions. It took us a big to get into sync with it.”
At the 3:05 mark of the third quarter, Porter battled all the way back to take the lead when a 3-pointer by Christian made it 29-28 and junior Caleb Garcia added to it with a bucket underneath for a three-point lead.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as Olvera hit a 3 at the 2:06 mark and junior Samuel Brandon made a 3 as well to re-take the lead with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Eagles maintained a lead of at least three points the rest of the game despite a great effort by Currier, who had 13 of his game-high 25 points in the final 2:14 of the game. He made a 3 at the 14.4 mark that made it 51-47, but New Caney got a pair of free throws from Braden Sheldon with 10.5 made it 53-47.
Currier made another 3 for Porter with just under 5 seconds to play to secure the final score.
“Luke’s a scorer,” Reid said. “He was pushing the possessions because he had to play point tonight. Which he does sometimes for us. He had opportunity to score in every possession if he’ll just settle down and be Luke.”
Christian finished with 10 for the Spartans, who are off until next Wednesday when they host Lufkin-Hudson.
“We showed courage and heart to fight back and get in position to win the ball game,” Reid said. “We took a late there late in the ball game, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot by making too many turnovers in crucial possessions.”
For New Caney, Olvera finished with a team-high 17 points.
“He did a good job and shoots the ball extremely well,” Farmer said. “He did a really good job and you can tell he’s been on the varsity the full year at this point. He brings a veteran presence to the team.”
Kendall Dove finished with 12 points while Samuel Brandon added eight. Eight different players contributed.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Farmer said. “We need to build some continuity and develop our rhythm again and I thought the kids (did that).”
New Caney travels to Nederland for a non-district game next Wednesday.
“It was a great ball game,” Reid said. “Coach Farmer has got a well-coached team. They do a great job over there.”