Varsity Basketball exits Winter Break 18-4 with District Play looming

The Wildcats tipped off district play with a 63-56 road-win against Klein

Coach+Baileys+Wildcats+are+18-4+and+look+to+handle+the+pressure+of+having+the+hottest+start+in+the+schools+basketball+history

Katelin Callahan

Coach Bailey’s Wildcats are 18-4 and look to handle the pressure of having the hottest start in the school’s basketball history

Adeen Rao, Lead Editor

In the three seasons prior to this one, the Tomball Memorial basketball program accumulated a record of 17-70 (2-41 District), winning just under 18% of their games in that timespan. This season, the script has been completely flipped, and head coach Matthew Bailey has the Wildcats rolling with an 18-4 (1-0 District) start. In Bailey’s first two years as Wildcat head coach, he won just one district game out of 27, and his Wildcats just toppled Klein 63-56 to open the 2022 district slate with a win. Bailey’s team is built on young talent that have developed under his supervision the past two seasons, and that young talent has carried their success over from their respective freshmen teams to Varsity this season.

The team is playing with a fire, unlike any basketball team in the history of 10 years, after undergoing a rough first couple years in Division 6A. Bailey’s group averaged 50.9 points per game last season, and that number has jumped 59.4 this season. The biggest improvement in this year’s team versus teams of the past is the relentless defensive intensity they bring on the court. Since Coach Bailey arrived on campus, he created a defensive culture that is finally coming into fruition now that he has a team full of athletes developed in his rigorous, conditioning-centered system. After allowing 59 points per game last season, the Wildcats have reduced the opponent’s points to 49.5 this season, making it much harder for teams to attack the bucket.

Out of the four games the Wildcats have lost so far, three of them have been by six points or less with the only double-digit loss being a 61-36 loss to 15-2 Lufkin who are ranked just outside the Top 50 in the State. This is a large flip from the 13 double-digit losses the team suffered last season. Over the break, the Wildcats avenged two of the losses they suffered earlier in the year, defeating Grand Oaks and the Woodlands in a tournament. The only teams who have beaten the Wildcats whilst not being beaten by the Wildcats are Bryan and Lufkin, who combine for a 31-7 record.

Next up, the Wildcats play the Klein Forest Eagles on Friday, who bested the Wildcats in both meetings they had last season, one of those losses being an 89-51 drubbing that the Wildcats will wish to avenge. Klein Forest have been the kings of the district for quite some time now, and this game will be a good measuring stick for the new kids on the block in the Wildcats.

This Wildcat team is built on underclassmen, but thrives on maturity and poise on the court, and Coach Bailey has these guys amped up and geared towards the school’s first ever playoff berth in 6A. I strongly encourage you to catch a game because these kids are fun to watch.