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Deer win Pride of Texas tourney, Ikpe earns MVP

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Sports

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Another weekend, another set of wins for the Deer basketball team. Deer Park is riding an 11-game winnings streak heading into Tuesday’s final predistrict match up against Angleton. Although team confidence is high, the Deer are focused on improving in what could be another dogfight in 22-6A.

Tristan Ikpe vs AlvinDeer Park's Tristan Ikpe earned MVP honors at last weekend's Pride of Texas Tournament in Corpus Christi. He fell just short of averaging a double-double over the four games, with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Photo by Andrew Pressley/Deer Park Photos.After taking the Pride of Texas tournament championship game in an overtime thriller over the weekend, the Deer basketball team is riding a 11-game winning streak. Deer Head Coach Darren Chanler said the 71-68 victory over The Woodlands is just another example of a confident team that is playing well on both sides of the ball.

“It’s an exciting time right now and they’ve earned it,” Chandler said Monday afternoon. “These guys are playing great defense and their shooting the ball really, really well. You put that together and you’ll win some games.”

Deer Park extended its season record to 14-4 and is ranked No. 23 in the state according to Hoops Insider. During the streak, the Deer have won by an average of 25 points per game.

“We’re doing a lot of things well right now. We’re not turning the ball over. Shooting is up while turnovers are down. We’re playing solid defense. We have three guys averaging double figures in points. We have a couple of more that are averaging better than eight,” Chandler said.

Chandler said the team is reaping the contributions from its starters and bench players.

“We had Tristan Ikpe earn tournament MVP in Corpus. Zach Walker and Brad Milliorn were both all-tournament. In the championship game against The Woodlands, Garrett Pinault had 8 huge points for us in the first half that kept us in the game,” said Chandler.

Ikpe averaged 19 points and almost 10 rebounds in the four games in Corpus Christi.

Chandler said the team’s confidence is high going into its final predistrict game Tuesday night against Angleton at the North Campus at 7 p.m.

“We have some swagger, but we have to be careful. We’re almost in the same situation as we were last year, so we don’t want to be overconfident. We were playing well and started district 0-5,” he said. “But we should be confident. We’ve earned that.”

In its 14 wins thus far, Deer Park has racked up victories against state-ranked teams. Three of Deer Park’s four losses were by four points or less.

“The good part is we’re playing well against a lot of really good teams. The bad part is we haven’t done anything yet because we haven’t done it in district, and that’s what counts,” he said. “Odds are we’ll get beat at some point, but at the same time, this streak could continue. We just have to stick with what we’re doing well and improve in the areas where we need to get better.”