CROCKETT – A showdown featuring two state-ranked boys basketball squads highlighted the first day of the Houston County Holiday Classic.
The Crockett Bulldogs (10-3) came into Tuesday's game ranked No. 7 in class 3A while the Flatonia Bulldogs rode into town boasting a 16-1 record and a No. 5 ranking in class 2A.
Coach Drae Murray's crew prevailed 70-65 in a hard-fought battle on their home court in the Andrew J. Hopkins Activity Center.
Crockett led 24-16 after a quarter but was outscored by 10 in the second quarter as Flatonia slipped in front, 39-37, at halftime. The men in blue regained the lead in the third quarter, 55-50, and fended off Flatonia down the stretch to secure the victory.
A foursome of double-digit scorers fueled Crockett's offense. D.J. Walker pumped in 10 points in the first quarter and finished with a team-high 18 that included a pair of treys.
Courtney Byrd canned 13 and Tayshawn Simon, who drained a pair of treys, booked 12 while Jadyn Collins tossed in 11.
Keshun Easterling was close behind with 8, Jaroderick Holmes tossed in 4, Iverson Rischer 2 and Bre'dron Tucker had 2.
Two other Houston County teams are competing in this year's tournament.
The Lovelady Lions lost their tourney opener against class 4A Hudson, 50-30, Tuesday morning in The Hop.
Tournament co-host Grapeland fell to class 4A Rusk, 77-74, on the Sandies' home court.
The Sandies led 16-15 after a quarter, 42-35 at the break and 60-51 heading into the final period. Rusk caught fire in the fourth quarter and overcame the Sandies with a 26-14 run.
Riley Murchison, one of five double-digit scorers for the Sandies, pumped in 22 points and 13 rebounds to record a double-double. Cadarian Wiley also booked a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Johnny Lamb followed with 17 points, Lakerian Smith had 13 and Omarian Wiley added 12.
Tournament Pool play continued Wednesday in both Crockett and Grapeland gyms.
The 18-team tournament concludes Thursday with the Gold and Silver Bracket games slated in Crockett.
Bronze, Copper and Consolation Bracket games will take place in Grapeland.