PASADENA, Texas -- After owning either the No. 1 or No. 3 seeds in recent seasons for the Region 14 Conference postseason tournament, the San Jacinto College men’s basketball team will try out the fourth seed.
After a series of three seeds failed to end San Jac’s drought to returning to Hutchinson, Kansas and the national championship tournament, last year’s No. 1 seed did. Although the Ravens lost to Tyler Junior College in the finals, San Jac still received an at-large berth.
After compiling a 12-7 conference record, it’s anyone’s guess as to which team will show up at the tournament in Lufkin. Will it be the Ravens team that reeled off eight straight wins, knocking off four straight North Zone Division foes to get the streak under way.
Or will it be the team that went an entire month without winning a conference road assignment, losing four straight?
Raven fans will discover soon enough because they’ll face either Paris Junior College or Angelina Thursday afternoon at 3.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’re going to watch the live stream of the tournament between Paris and Angelina. We haven’t seen Paris in a while. We’ll be trying to relearn them. So when we practice at 4:30, we’ll have a good idea what to work on. Then from there, it just becomes a matter of showing up and playing,” San Jac head coach Scott R. Gernander said Monday.
The Ravens split with Angelina’s Roadrunners, winning at Anders Gym on Jan. 23 via an 88-75 outcome, but losing at Angelina 102-89. In the one meeting with Paris, way back on Dec. 9, the Ravens won 91-84.
“At this point in the year, we’re not changing anything. I probably could have said that two or three weeks ago. You can make adjustments but at this point, we are what we are. At this point of the year, it’s about energy. We just need to keep them focused on the task ahead,” Gernander said.
When it comes down to it, the amount of success San Jac enjoys at the postseason tournament will depend on how well they execute. Preparation is nice, but if the shots aren’t falling, if the defense is too lax, if the free throws aren’t going in, it will be a short stay.
“We can’t show up and just expect to make shots and win. You gotta have energy. It’s a nightmare for a coach to think you’ll show up for a playoff game and everybody is just kind of feeding off each other and one or two guys are dead. Then the whole team is dead. That’s what I fear the most is keeping that energy level up and even if we’re not making our shots, maybe we’ll feed off that energy and find other ways to help the team out,” Gernander said.
The fact that the Ravens kind of stumbled down the stretch could be a blessing in disguise. During that eight-game winning streak in December and January, the Ravens were on everyone’s radar. Now with some defeats, San Jac could be in a position to sneak up and surprise some folks.
In this case, it just requires a streak of three in Lufkin.