By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – Humble has figured out the formula.
Get the ball out in transition, play unselfish basketball and score as quick as possible. It’s every coaches hope that their team can pull this off. On paper is sounds like a great plan, executing it though is the trick and Humble is pulling it off.
Lair Crawford’s Wildcats, who are off to its best start through the first half of the season since going 19-2 to start the year in 2014-2015, have had the hot hands this season, averaging 70.3 points per game en route to a 16-5 mark.
“I think we shoot the ball better,” Crawford said comparing this team to last year’s. “I think teams with our quickness, we have some quick guards this year but I think the difference is last year a lot of teams were able to slow us down playing zone and I think a couple of teams have tried early on this year. We’ve shot the ball so well they haven’t been able to stay in that zone.”
Last season the Wildcats went 22-13 overall, made the playoffs eventually falling to Beaumont Central in the Bi-District round.
Humble struggled to score at times last year, averaging just 58.25 points per game and scoring north of 70 just twice in the opening 23 games last season.
Comparatively, the Wildcats in their first 21 games of this year have scored 70 or more points already 14 times and 80 or more six times.
Kevin Dawson has led the crew with 18 points and eight boards per game, while Jacob Thomas and Isaiah Longino have chipped in 11 and 10 points a game, respectively. Longino is averaging a double double so far with 12 rebounds per game to go along with his double digit scoring.
Sophomore Kendrick Gaithe has also been a key, averaging eight points, six rebounds and five assists per game.
The success offensively this season, Crawford said is having some guys back off last year’s team, adding some quality shooters off the junior varsity and them putting the time needed in.
“It’s a good group, they’re hungry, they want to do well,” he said. “They’re working and they know that’s our style. They want to shoot it well and it’s unselfish.
“They’ll pass up a good shot to get a great shot. They pass up a shot they probably could’ve taken but they make that one extra pass to get the guy that’s wide open.”
Part of their hot start included a 5-0 clip in District 21-5A play with wins against Splendora, Dayton, New Caney, Lee and Barbers Hill, winning by an average of 36 points with their biggest win a 53-point victory against Lee.
“It was big, especially when you play so many district games,” Crawford said. “The quicker the start the better. You don’t have to fight back. Last year we were 2-3 going into the break. So it’s a lot better to be 5-0. It’s good but there’s still a lot of games to be played.”
As the page turns to the final 13 games of the regular season, Humble sitting in a first place tie with Kingwood Park in district play, the target is directly on the Wildcats.
There are a few goals for Humble in this second half of the season that every other team has, such as winning a district title, but for Crawford it’s also about getting to and having success in the playoffs.
“We want to win a District title,” he said. “But we also know we want to try and make a run this year. We’ve lost in the first round two of the last three years. So we want to try and make a run but to make a run we have to get there first.”
Humble – 2015
Averaged 58.25 ppg
Scored 70 or more in 2 games in opening 23 games
Lost 7 games by 5 points or less in that stretch
Scored above 80 once last season
Averaging 70.33 ppg
Above 70 points 14 times in opening 21 games
Scored 80 or more 6 times already