Seven Lakes clinches first district title since 2014 with win over Taylor

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 2/16/22

“We’re not satisfied yet,” Van Hoozer said. “We’ve won a district championship, but we are still hungry going into the playoffs. We’re going to stay that way and try to make a run.”

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Seven Lakes clinches first district title since 2014 with win over Taylor

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Grant Van Hoozer watched from the bench last year as Taylor beat Seven Lakes and clinch a district championship.

An ACL injury had kept Van Hoozer sidelined all season and it didn’t sit right to him or his teammates as they watched the Mustangs celebrate against them.

So that made it so much sweeter for Van Hoozer that the Spartans had a chance to clinch an outright district title against Taylor on Seven Lakes home court during senior night on Wednesday.

“It meant a lot to me to have this chance,” Van Hoozer said. “Especially since I played on varsity my sophomore year. We didn’t get to compete for district that year. And then last year having to watch as we competed for a district title but lost, that hurt. So, coming back, having a chance to play at home and clinch this district title, it’s special. Especially in front of this home crowd.”

Seven Lakes took care of business in front of its home crowd, coming away with a 59-40 win over the Mustangs on the Spartans senior night to clinch a District 19-6A title outright and lock up the one seed in the district as well.

“It means a lot for us,” said sophomore guard AJ Bates. “Last year it was really tough, we lost by 30 against a great Taylor team and they won district. This year, we had a team loaded with seniors and we wanted this. We wanted to send them out on their senior night on a good note and rebound from last year. It was just awesome to get this win.”

Seven Lakes jumped ahead from the opening tip and didn’t leave any doubt as to the result to the game, leading Taylor 17-5. The Spartans continued to push the lead in the second quarter despite putting backups in at times and senior guard Noah Simiskey went on a personal 13-0 run at one point after being subbed into the game.

“It was awesome to get all those guys time on the court tonight,” Bates said. “No one sees it but those guys, they do so much for everyone. They help us out so much in practice, they give us the best looks and their energy is always amazing. No matter what matter what situation we’re in they’re always there for us, and I’m just glad that they got to enjoy their night.”

The Spartans lead continued to grow in the second half as the team celebrated its upcoming achievement as time continued to run out on the game.

The Spartans have 11 seniors on the team, and the achievement was a long time in the making for head coach Shannon Heston, as the Spartans had not come away with a district title since the 2014 season.

“It’s a culmination of guys who take time to put in the work seeing the reward firsthand,” Heston said. “I think that a lot of times if you’re willing to put in the work, it takes time to see the results, and that’s what we have preached to these guys for two years. It’s great to see it pay off for them.”

With the first seed in district secured, the Spartans will play Fort Bend Travis at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Coleman Coliseum.

“We’re not satisfied yet,” Van Hoozer said. “We’ve won a district championship, but we are still hungry going into the playoffs. We’re going to stay that way and try to make a run.”

District 19-6A

Seven Lakes 59, Taylor 40

Points: (SL) Tahaad Davis 13, Noah Simiskey 13, AJ Bates 11, Steve Bluiett Elijah Movanus 4, Josh Akpovwa 3, Luke Simank 3, Ethan Van Horn 3, Dylan Garcia 2, Gabriel Farias 2; (T) Troy Harris 20, Brett Wakefield 5, Caden Chavez 3, Darian Scott 2, Luke Robbie 2, Jonathan Xi 2, Chase Gawlikowski 1

Halftime: Seven Lakes 31-11; 3-pointers: (SL) Simiskey 3, Davis 2, Bluiett, Simank, Van Horn; (T) Harris 2, Gawlikowski, Chavez; Records: Seven Lakes 32-4, 11-1; 8-23, 1-10

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