The North Zulch basketball program hosted a tournament at NZHS from Thursday to Saturday afternoon in the main and auxiliary gyms and included a number of participants from both men and women’s teams.
The men’s team concluded the tournament with a record of 2-3 while the Lady Bulldogs finished 5-1 and took second place for the weekend behind New Waverly and ahead of St. Joe’s. On the men’s side, Alpha Omega took first place in front of Lovelady and Brazos Christian.
“We are starting to understand how to play, especially on the defensive end,” said North Zulch men’s basketball Coach and Athletic Director Matt Kirschner. “We are starting to step up and take chargers and also make defensive plays out of the press. All these early games in the year are a chance for us to learn about the system and also learn about ourselves as a team. Overall, it was a very competitive tournament.”
The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, prevailed in the first five games of the tournament before they dropped a 59-47 contest to New Waverly. In their five wins, North Zulch allowed less than 30 points four times against Cornerstone, Brazos Christian, St. Joe’s and Richards. They also defeated Alpha Omega by a score of 61-39.
Megan Massey led the Lady Bulldogs in the tournament’s first two games with point totals of 21 and 19 against Cornerstone and Brazos Christian. In the third game against St. Joe’s, North Zulch was trailing 30-23 at the break. But the defense was able to hold their opponent to just one point in the third quarter to regain control and ultimately win the game.
Against Alpha Omega, freshman Lakin Maddin led the way with 20 points in the victory. Another decisive victory over Richards took North Zulch to the final against New Waverly.
While Coach Michael Stenseth is pleased with his team’s progress so far this early in the season, a pair of injuries to Danaicka Diserens and Madison Murphy has made it more difficult to run the team the way he wants to.
The team had just one practice before the tournament without Diserens present and lost Murphy during the tournament. Zoraida Medina is up from the JV team and has already recorded a bucket in three games, including a three-pointer. It will also be an opportunity for other players to learn in a new role, but Stenseth will have to simplify play for the time being.
“We will run a half court offense until we can get up to speed, which we will do,” said Stenseth. “These are challenges every team faces. Right now, we are focusing on man-to-man in practice.”
While the team will be tested with the new challenges in front of them, they have still collected 11 wins throughout the early portion of the season. Stenseth, who has a storied career in high school basketball, took over the position at the start of the year.
“They have been very receptive to what I have been teaching,” said Stenseth. “They struggled last year, so they are very motivated. They want to learn and get better. If you have those things, you have a chance to be successful.
The Lady Bulldogs traveled to Mart on Tuesday and will compete in a tournament at St. Joe’s on Thursday.
The men’s team traveled to Splendora on Tuesday and will compete in a tournament at Centerville over the weekend.