The last game of non-district play ended in a loss for the El Campo Ricebirds, who fell to the fourth ranked 3A team in the state, Corpus Christi London 67-61, on the road Saturday afternoon.
The Ricebirds had the game tied late in the fourth quarter, but London went on an 8-2 run to close out the game.
Four different Ricebirds scored in double figures. Senior post Reagan Spenrath led El Campo with 16 points, junior guard Isaiah Anderson had 15, sophomore guard Rueben Owens had 11, and freshman point guard La’Darian Lewis had 10.
A loss was added to their record, but the game was still fruitful for El Campo, as the team hadn’t played since before the holiday break in December.
“Corpus Christi London is one of the top-ranked teams in 3A and we were able to compete with them and hold the lead for a large portion of the game,” El Campo coach Kevin Lewis said. “So I was very pleased the way we competed and played fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball, which is something we had been working (on) the past couple of practices. They were definitely the most complete team we’ve played all year long. If we (didn’t) get into foul trouble, I definitely believe we (would have) won that game.”
El Campo now moves into the important part of their season, where they hope they will pick up more than one win.
In district play, El Campo will play Sealy, Wharton and Brookshire Royal who they faced last year. They will also play new additions, Navasota and Bellville, who’ve been added after the last UIL realignment.
Making the playoffs last year was Navasota, Bellville and Wharton.
El Campo last season finished tied for last in district play. However, they did grab their first district win since 2017. El Campo has one returning all-district player, Reagan Spenrath. The senior post is giving El Campo 15 points and seven rebounds a game.
“We have gotten better after each game and practice,” Lewis said. “We have also built some chemistry that will hopefully spring us to some district wins.”
El Campo’s defense has been tough this year with Anderson, Owens and junior Trinceton Foley grabbing steals, leading to points from their fast break offense.
The Runnin’ Tigers will have the district’s best returning player in senior point guard, Fred Jones, who was an all-region player last season. Jones was also the district defensive MVP. Senior forward James Jones is Wharton’s only other returning all-district player. He made the first-team.
Last year, Navasota won their district with an 8-2 record. They are returning one all-district player in junior Ja’mar Jessie. This season, Navasota is 4-5 in non-district play.
Bellville last year finished third in the district and they have no returning all-district players. They are 4-8 in non-district play this year.
Royal last year finished tied with Wharton, but last the play-in game. They are returning junior Trey McGill, who is the district newcomer of the year. Royal is 7-5 in non-district play this year.
Last year, Sealy finished tied for last in district and they have no returning all-district players. Sealy in non-district play is 6-3.
El Campo does have a shot at the playoffs if they can stay healthy and play the same competitive basketball they played during non-district play. The Ricebirds are expected to get back senior point guard Charles Shorter, who’s been out with an injury. With Shorter in the lineup, the Ricebirds are 7-0 this season.
El Campo took on the Runnin’ Tigers on the road Friday night.