February 24, 2010

No. 7 Bellaire, the other Houston team, rolls

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It is the other dominant boys basketball team in Houston. The one with the 32-1 record but with still plenty to prove.

But if you think Houston (Texas) Bellaire feels it needs to justify its No. 7 ranking in the latest RivalsHigh boys basketball Top 100 - or whether it feels it could handle its high-scoring cross-town neighbor, No. 1 Yates, think again.

Bellaire just wants to prove to itself that it can win ... in the postseason.

This Texas 5A power has a history of big regular seasons, but short playoff stays. Tuesday night, though, it made a statement, walloping Houston (Texas) Eisenhower, 115-50.

It wasn't just a Texas-sized rout but rather a turnaround from a season ago when the same teams met and Eisenhower pulled a surprising upset.

"Coach (Bruce Glover) told us to prove all the haters wrong," Bellaire center Tobi Oyedeji told The Houston Chronicle (read its story here).

"(People) always talk about how we always have a big season but in the postseason we can't finish strong.

"That's all we've been hearing for the past 12 months, so we said, 'OK, let's come out tonight and make a statement for the rest of the state to know.'"

Bellaire - playing the same intensity pressure defense Yates does - jumped out to a 20-4 lead, led 48-28 at half then opened the second half with a 19-0 run. It was up 50 by the end of the third.

Junior guard Sheldon McClellan, a Texas commit, had 25 points. Senior guard Sebastian Douglas had 19 points, six rebounds and three steals. Oyedeji had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The team forced 25 turnovers - and all five starters were in double-figures. It was a Yates-like effort.

And if you're wondering: Could this team top Yates? Keep wondering. Yates, a 4A school, is in another playoff bracket. And when it skipped the Houston holiday tournament to play in Hawaii instead, any chance for the schools to meet was gone.

Not that Bellaire is thinking about it. It just wants to take care of its own business, rebuilding a reputation.

"We want to be a good team ... during the playoffs," Glover told The Chronicle earlier this season. "That's when it really matters.

"People remember what you do at the end of the year, not how you begin."

The beginning of the postseason went well.

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