North Crowley lives by the tenet, "Tradition never graduates." That theme is perpetuated from class to class by a pair of gigantic win streaks.
North Crowley, the No. 9 Class 5A team in Texas, won its 80th consecutive district contest Tuesday with a 73-52 rout of Arlington Lamar. The Panthers (21-6, 8-0 in District 3-5A) also pushed their home win streak to 64 with a 103-42 thrashing of Arlington on Friday. Both streaks date to the 2006-07 season.
"It means a lot to me personally because I've been there all 15 years," said North Crowley coach Tommy Brakel, who owns an .839 win percentage (440-84) at the school. "We preach program history and stuff like that a lot within our program so I think it means a lot to the players. They don't want to be the class or team that drops that proverbial torch."
It's not just the streaks, but an impressive body of work that serves to remind each class what is expected of them. North Crowley is 194-10 in district play and 148-7 at home all-time. The team won a Class 5A state title in 2007-08 and is on its way to a 15th straight postseason appearance.
The Panthers, who have won their last six games overall, have six district games remaining, including three at home.
North Crowley hosts Arlington Sam Houston -- a team it defeated 94-50 last month -- on Friday before a pair of tough contests against Arlington Bowie (19-8, 7-1) and Arlington Martin (20-6, 6-2) next week.
The Panthers beat Bowie and Martin by a combined 14 points in the first round of district play while outscoring the rest of District 3-5A by an average score of 86-39. Brakel knows the streaks, the race for the district title, and a top playoff seed will be in jeopardy next week.
"With 11 of the 14 players being seniors, hopefully there's a good level of maturity there to do it," Brakel said. "Next week is what it is. It's the top two teams in our district, aside from us, and both of those teams have been very impressive."
Century mark eclipsed
Arlington Seguin coach Bobby Thigpen persevered through some rough times getting the Cougars' program off the ground, but now has a juggernaut at his fingertips. Seguin, No. 5 in the 4A state rankings, routed Red Oak 86-60 Friday for Thigpen's 100th career win before defeating Ennis 72-51 on Tuesday.
"Yep, we got over the hump," Thigpen said. "It is a milestone, but not really. To me it's not a big deal but I want a lot more, eventually you want to get to 500-600, but that's going to take some time."
Thigpen posted a record of 49-76 in his first four seasons at Seguin, but has since turned it around with a 29-6 record last season and has the Cougars sitting at 23-4 this season.
"The first three or four years were tough," Thigpen said. "When I first got there we had a lot of guys who played football and basketball. We had a lot of talent, a lot of athletes but we just didn't know how to win back then. That's the big difference, just us turning the corner and winning the close games we're supposed to."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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