"I tell you what," said Shelton shaking his head from side-to-side, "Channelview gave us a good game tonight."
It wasn't so much stellar play by Angleton, which got all kinds of good fortune from several Jones turnovers, not to mention 20+ chances from the charity stripe.
"We didn't play the defense we can play," Shelton explained. "We did a lot of reaching, standing flat-footed and just didn't have any consistency on defense. But they (Channelview) had a lot of movement (used a motion-offense the entire game) tonight and we hadn't see anything like that in a while. But I believed in our defense and they really worked hard at it all night. Feels good to pull this one out."
"Man, it was hot in here tonight," a sweaty and happy Shelton told IT as he took a few seconds to exhale and look around the arena to reflect not only on the game itself, but the dadgum warmer-than-necessary temperatures in the Barnett Field House gym.
What about the all-everything, legitimate 6-3, 195-pound guard?
Well, Daniel Gibson had a relatively quiet game (for his standards), especially through the first three quarters, but it appeared the Jones team and coaching staff wasn't making much of an effort to get him the rock. However, the fourth quarter was all about getting Gibson involved as his coach had entertained defeat long enough.
"Well, you saw the way they were trying to deny him the ball," Shelton said. "And give a lot of credit to Daniel for staying patient and working on the other things he could to stay in the flow of the game... getting steals, rebounds, taking the hard fouls... hitting the big free throws. And he didn't shoot it as well as he normally does, but in the end you had to like the way he stepped up. We needed him in the end and he was able to conserve some of his energy for the final minutes of the game and we needed him to do that to get the win."
[As customary, my scouting report places a premium on "clutch" performance, specifically at the end of ball games (which is the most logical time in a game to assess whether a player revels in the opportunity to put the team on his back or shies away from it). And in a team sport, particularly basketball -- which allows only five guys on the court for each respective team -- if a top-ranked kid cannot demonstrate at least a little bit of money in the waning moments of a high school game, then the probability of clutch-play manifesting itself on the next level is for all intents and purposes "no bueno".]
Make no mistake about it, Gibson -- who ended the game shooting 50 percent (5 of 10) from the field for ten of his twenty points and close to 85 percent from the line where he added another ten points -- was the difference. And in the decisive fourth and final quarter, when Gibson's team needed him the most, the current UT target came through with 10 of his team-high 20 points for the game primarily by getting to the line. He also worked the defensive end well late in the game as he took the ball away from the opposing team by playing the passing lanes, good man-to-man D and/or effective help-defense. Plus he cleaned up the boards for a few huge rebounds.
But you guys will get our in-depth breakdown in our next edition of the Inside Scoop.
Part II of our Gibson report will be coming later today with the high school senior talking about his performance and some of the teams still in pursuit of his signature.