RICHMOND — The Chargers are one win away from tying the single-season district win total after defeating Randle 65-48 on Friday.
Interim Fulshear coach Emmanuel Grady felt the commanding win had its challenges.
Fulshear led by as many as 22 in the second half, but Randle had a pair of late rallies that brought the lead down to 10 points.
“We got to continue focusing on our fundamentals and understand how to win basketball games,” Grady said. “The plays we make in the first quarter won’t be there in the fourth quarter because the team we play becomes more desperate. We must match that intensity and bring out all of our energy to close these games.”
Despite the inexperience of a first-year program, Randle remained valiant against the surging Chargers.
Randle was coming off of an upset win over the district’s No. 4 seed Kempner.
The Lions brought that same energy through the first quarter, but a pair of Zach Nicholson three-pointers gave the Chargers a 13-8 lead.
Nicholson’s big night included an 18-point performance with four three-pointers.
Randle would fall behind by 22 in the third quarter before going on a 10-2 run to close the frame.
The Lions were kept alive by a team-leading 13 points from Justice Ajibola.
Freshman Daniel Addison had an excellent showing for the Lions with his trio of threes.
Randle’s Donnell Olivacce scored 10 points, Jacob Davis scored six, Yanni Ibikunle scored six and Ray Rodriguez and Jackson Stubbs scored two each.
Fulshear’s Toby Princewill had another successful game with 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Other Charger scorers included Grayson Bennett (11), Dylan Garner (6), Jake Coady (5), E McGee (5), Xavier Moore (4), Jeremiah Monihiyan (2) and Timothy Mayes Jr. (2).
Fulshear remains the No. 2 seed in District 20-5A, one game behind unbeaten Marshall.
Grady emphasizes the importance of not taking the road to the Chargers’ Feb. 14 clash with the Buffs lightly.
“We must keep our focus because we want to win the district,” Grady said. “We can’t look past opponents to get to that Marshall game. We have to earn that right to get that rematch and play for a district championship. All season the motto is ‘we want to do something special and something that hasn’t been done.’”
Grady also took this week to become better acquainted with being the head coach.
The athletic department promoted Grady from assistant to interim head coach after Jeremy Cunningham was removed as head coach due to “UIL violations,” according to school staff.
“It was unfortunate because Coach Cunningham, I see as a good friend and a mentor to me, so at the beginning, it was rocky for me,” Grady said. “Over the time, our staff has talked about how to prepare and know that no matter who is at the top, we are in this together. We need to do what we have been doing and we will be fine.”
The Chargers can tie a program win record in district games with Tuesday’s game against Willowridge.
Meanwhile, Randle looks to get back in the win column against Lamar Consolidated on Tuesday.
Fulshear is 8-1 and Randle is 2-7 in District 20-5A.
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