From Gary Stallard/ AC Athletics
Momentum is a marvelous commodity for any sports team, and the Angelina College Roadrunner men’s basketball team has stockpiled plenty of it over a nine-game winning streak. AC’s play over the past month has the team sitting pretty atop the Region XIV South Zone standings: In first place with a 17-8, 12-2 record.
Yes, momentum is nice. But how does a team maintain its thrust over the regular season’s final two weeks?
“We just try to be the same people every day, and we still work on the little things that have gotten us to this point,” head coach Nick Wade said. “There’s no time to change our recipe or anything now, but we still have a lot we can work on.
“Over the course of an entire season, it’s definitely a grind, but these are the things that come with it. Our job is to come to work every day and be the best versions of ourselves we can be and let everything else take care of itself.”
The team’s “all-in” approach is evident in the numbers: Only Travis Henson averages above double figures in scoring (16.3 points per game), but eight players average more than 5.0 points per contest.
AC is coming off back-to-back road wins, beating Coastal Bend Community College 85-72 in Beeville and following up with a convincing 107-68 win at Victoria College. On Saturday, the Roadrunners will host Lamar State College-Port Arthur, the second-place team in the zone. The ‘Runners pulled out a 66-64 win in Port Arthur on a last-second tip-in back on Jan. 22.
Wade said his team’s focus isn’t as much on the next opponent as it is on personal expectations.
“It is about expectations now that we come out and compete at a high level,” Wade said. “Early in the season, we were conditioning the players to understand how tough it is to win at this level. We started out 1-5.
“But they understand they have a tremendous opportunity in front of them. It’s going to take everybody, and it’s going to take us staying incredibly focused and unselfish.”
Wade added he and his team aren’t looking ahead to the conference tournament, even though the tourney’s opening is looming near.
“There’s still so much moving and shaking in the standings, and anything can happen,” Wade said. “We try to take care of what’s right in front of us. The second you start looking too far down the light, you mess up what’s right in front of you. If we’re not careful, we could be one of those teams moving.
“Our goal is to come in, play hard and compete at a high level. If we do that, I think we’ll keep this momentum going.”
Saturday’s game tips off at 4 p.m. at Shands Gymnasium. Live streaming will be available at angelinaathletics.com.