Clear Lake Falconhoops: MEMORY LANE
FALCONHOOPS WALL OF FAME
This section reviews
A. the best all-time highlights and
B. my random recollections of fans, games, players, teams, and events that might be noteworthy for Clear Lake basketball fans. The few items provided by someone other than the website administrator are denoted with a double asterisk (**). Suggestions for categories and nominees are welcome.
- Best All Time Highlights:
1. The 1989 5A state championship game win against undefeated San Antonio John Jay High School.
Long overdue state champs. Well balanced team, played truly outstanding ball in the state tournament. Clear Lake ran off 22 unanswered points against a talent laden team that was 38-0. WOW! It was something to behold. To the keen observer the preparedness of Krueger's team was astonishingly thorough and complete. For some high school boys basketball aficianados like myself, it actually changed the way we watched the game of basketball. By the way, this state finals game was selected the basketball game of the decade in Texas by Texas sports writers. Coach Bill Krueger took his teams to the Regionals 8 times in 16 years before 1989 but did not win the region until 1989. The Falcons had lost in the Regionals to the eventual state champions four times. During the 1988-89 regular season Clear Lake started slowly by losing its first two district games (losses to Clear Creek and Dobie I believe) and entered the playoffs as the District runner-up (the first year two teams went to the playoffs in 5A). In the playoffs the Falcons defeated Galveston Ball 93-89 in overtime and then Beaumont West Brook, 43-36, to reach the Regionals where they defeated Madison, 104-78, and Houston Washington, 80-76, to qualify for the state tournament. In Austin Clear Lake defeated Fort Worth Southwest 84-67 in the semi-final and previously unbeaten (38-0) San Antonio John Jay 86-69 in the state finals. Clear Lake finished the year 36-4.
In the state semifinal Clear Lake overcame an 11-point deficit in the first half with superior shooting (54%) and rebounding (43-35) to defeat Fort Worth Southwest by 17 points. In the finals the score stayed close throughout the first half with the Falcons ahead by 5 at halftime. Coming from behind late in the third quarter the Falcons led by 22 at one point and won by 17 largely due to impressively accurate outside shooting from the field (55%), from 3-point range (55%) and free throws (75%). All season Clear Lake relied greatly upon the 3-point shot (begun by the UIL in 1988) hitting 40% from long range during the year. Clear Lake scored 28 points off 16 Jay turnovers and held Jay to 37% from the field to hand the previously undefeated Mustangs their first loss.
The 1989 Clear Lake players were:
10 Brad Bruce, 5’11” Sr;
12 Tim Glover, 6’1” Jr;
14 Scott Boykin, 6’4” Sr;
20 Robert Henson, 5’10” Sr;
22 John Easterly, 5’11” Jr;
24 Eric Valentino, 6’4” So;
30 Eric Henderson, 6’1” Sr;
32 Mike Simmons, 6’1” Jr;
34 David Buckner, 6’3” Sr;
40 Mike Fultz, 6’4” Jr;
42 Steve Rasmussen, 6’4” Jr;
44 Brian Williams, 6’7” Jr;
50 Derrick Lormand, 6’4” So;
52 Paul Cooper, 6’6” Jr; and
54 Mike Moten, 6’8” Sr.
Clear Lake senior David Buckner led all scorers in the semi-final game with 30 points and Moten had 17. In the final game Buckner led all scorers with 23 points, Robert Henson with 19 (career high, certainly the best game of his high school career), Mike Moten with 17 (9 rebounds) and Tim Glover with 13. Jay's Calvin Thomas was almost unstoppable as he led Jay with 22 point while Charles "Bo" Outlaw had 17 rebounds.
The 1989 5-A All State Tournament Team included:
6’3” Sr David Buckner and 6’8” Sr Mike Moten of Clear Lake;
6’8” Sr Charles “Bo” Outlaw of SA Jay;
Sr Sidney Baker of FW Southwest; and
Sr Alfredo Porter of Dallas S. Oak Cliff.
Bo Outlaw later played at the University of Houston and in the NBA from 1994-06 and was elected to the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. Lake's David Buckner played at Fordham University. Mike Moten played at Rhode Island before going to Europe for his professional career.
The statistical part of this summary of the 1989 team provided by the legendary Billy Wilbanks, PhD.
Bill Krueger's 1989 win of the state championship was his second (he also won a title in 1965 at San Marcos). During the 1989 season Coach Krueger became the all-time leader in most wins in Texas with over 900 for his career. By his retirement in 1996 he finished with a 1096-250 record (in 39 years), the winningest high school coach in the United States at that time. He is currently 5th on the all-time national list as of January 2017. Coach Krueger was elected to the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and is a member of the National High School Athletic Hall of Fame (see Coach Profiles for more).
Clear Lake has made four appearances in the state tournament. The Falcons won the title in 1989 and lost in the finals in 1990 to Dallas Kimball. In 1995 Lake was defeated in the semifinals by Dallas Carter 67-58. In 2015 the Falcons were defeated in the finals by a buzzer beater by Plano West. West had what many believed to be the most talented team to ever play in the state tournament. Their starting lineup was bigger than any college in the Big 12 Conference. See below.
2. 2015 state championship game Clear Lake (35-3) versus Plano West () Score: Lake 54 - PW 56
Despite the 2 point loss in the state finals, the performance of this team ranks right up there with the '89 team winning the state championship. Facing an opponent who had assembled the most talent laden team ever to appear in the state tournament, this team took it to the wire and lost at the buzzer. After several long time state tourney goers claimed Plano West as the most talented bunch ever to appear in the state tournament, I spent 6 weeks reviewing all the teams I had seen in my previous 50 years at the tournament. I did finally conclude they were correct. Plano West was not the best team but certainly loaded with the most talent of any team ever to appear to play in the state finals.
Combined with excellent teamwork, the composure of Lake's team matched a level hardly ever seen on the high school level. This 2015 team personified a Clear Lake team - good team basketball - unselfish team players who take pride in working hard together to achieve their mutual goals (and a real class act).
Just like the 1995 team, this is a team which surpassed most people’s expectations. This year’s team was not picked to win their district. They were not even ranked in the preseason top 25 in the state. There was no one dominant player that carried the team throughout the season. Instead they took care of business as a team. They each stepped up when it was needed. Bradley George was the leading scorer but each of the five starters scored more than 20 points in at least two or more games in the 2014-15 season.
In front of a crowd of 10,781 and against one of the premier teams in the nation (Plano West), this demonstration of Lake’s team basketball was something to behold. Many regulars at the tournament felt that this game was one of the very best games they had ever seen at the state tournament. Quite a testament to a team that was not projected to even win their district. This team’s accomplishments will proudly serve as a reminder to many of what Clear Lake basketball is all about.
3. The 1994 Legends Tournament
In December 1994 the teams of the four "winningest" active coaches in the history of high school basketball met in Fort Worth at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center for the Legends Tournament. Each team played the other three teams. At the time Coach Bill Krueger was first in wins with 1073, Robert Hughes from Fort Worth Dunbar 1071, Morgan Wooten from DeMatha High (private school) in Washington D.C. with 1069, and Ralph Tasker from Hobbs, New Mexico with 1067 (see the Coaches Profile Page for more on Coach Krueger).
In the Clear Lake - Dunbar game, Dunbar was up 16-4 early and had 5 dunks, a typical Dunbar run and gun team. Dunbar had a more talented team but Krueger outcoached Robert Hughes and won 68-58.
It was a very special tournament. Clear Lake, Dunbar, and DeMatha all finished 2-1 with Hobbs trailing behind (see photo above; The man in the middle holding the basketball is Fort Worth businessman and Tournament Director Tom Rogers). For excellent articles about the coaches and the tournament from Sports Illustrated go to http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1007595/index.htm and http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1006255/1/index.htm
4. One of the sweetest victories
In the Alvin Tournament (December 1994) Clear Lake came up against Austin Westlake. Westlake had an abundance of talent including Chris Mihn (6'8" guard) and Luke Axtell (6'8"), both of whom went on to play for the University of Texas.
Mihn (at 7'0") still holds the UT blocked shot record and is third in all time rebounding in the Big 12. Miln was drafted in 2000 by the Chicago Bulls and played pro ball for several years despite several injuries.
Luke Axtell, while a freshman player at Texas, caused controversy that cost Texas Coach Tom Penders his job (one of the worst injustices this UT alum fan has ever seen in the game of basketball in Texas). Axtell left Texas and transfered to Kansas. Anyway, Lake was severely outgunned in this high school game but Krueger put on an impressive coaching clinic against young Westlake coach Clifton McNeely and won the game against staggering odds. The McNeeley name is well known in Texas high school basketball. After a long stay at Austin Westlake, McNeely went on to coach at College Park High School in the Woodlands where he is currently.
5. Several regional playoff wins in the final seconds of the game.
- First Clear Lake game was played on November 18, 1972 against Spring Woods High School. Lake won 76-62. Starters were David Buchanan, Paul Vahldiek, Randy Ferguson, Billy Carlisle, and Darrell Johnston.
- Most rabid Clear Lake fan ever: Mike Fultz's Mom Donna (1988-1990)
- Biggest jerk in the gym: any father who thinks he knows more about how to coach his son's varsity team than the team's head coach (no matter where the father played college ball). Guilty parties shall remain nameless.
- Family with the most Lake Varsity players: Henderson (3 sons). Two of the three boys played in the state tournament in different years.
- Most adept at calling a time-out while falling out of bounds: Nandi Wijay
- Team to score the most games over 100 points: 1988 (9 games)
- Biggest choke by an opponent: 1988, CCISD Tournament, Clear Lake vs. Beaumont Central. At the end of the game the referee called a technical foul for hanging on the rim on Lake's Mike Moten. With no time left and Clear Lake up by 1 point (Moten's basket was disallowed), Central's Damon Sweet, who went on to play at Notre Dame, missed both free throws while a near capacity crowd was on their feet screaming. "The roar from the crowd was so loud you could almost feel the place moving. I doubt anyone could have made those free throws" according to Clear Lake's Troy Valentino (2016 Hall of Fame Inductee). Great crowds in those days. **
- Best player to ever play varsity ball at Clear Lake High School so far: Richard Law, 1999-2002.
- Most amazing rebounders under 6'4": Kyle Ashton (6', 10 rebounds in first half of playoff game), Chris Stenerson (6'3", 16 rebounds in state semifinal game against Shertz Clemens 2015)..
- Player with the consistently largest fan base (includes family): R. J. Turner (2007).
- Best and most no-look passes: Tim Glover (88-90)
- Most broken noses in one year: Justin Kurtz (4)
- Best Right Hook: Justin Kurtz (vs. Damion James from Nacogdoches, CCISD Tournament, December 2005. James played his college ball at The Universty of Texas in Austin before turning pro).
- All time most handsome players: Brad Meyer (1983), John Braxton, RJ Turner (2007), Jackson Hardage (2009)
- Most likely to be elected Governor or Senator: Pete Olson
- Longest string of unanswered Lake points: 27 points (January 16, 2007, Regional Finalist Lake team against Clear Creek in the Creek gym during district play)
- Best (or worst) Dunk by a Lake player: In a home game versus Galveston Ball, Clear Lake's 6'10" Jason Maronge shattered the backboard. Game was delayed until it could be moved to the Ninth Grade Center. Lake won. It was Jason's second backboard of the year. Jason went on to play at Rutgers for one year.
- Most impressive dunk by an opponent: Around 1994. In a tournament at Deer Park, Jerald Brown from Aldine MacArthur High School, who later played at A&M, got the ball in the backcourt with less than 10 seconds remaining in the first half. With two formidable Lake players well positioned at the top of the key between him and the basket, Brown drove directly down the center of the court, crossed the midcourt line, forcefully blew by both Lake defenders, left the floor just over the free throw line, and crammed in an awesome windmill slam dunk just as the buzzer sounded to end the first half. Very rare to see dunks like that back then against a Lake team. It happened so fast very few were expecting it as Brown made the Clear Lake players look invisible. Almost the entire crowd from both sides rose to their feet and cheered as Brown casually trotted off the floor toward the dressing rooms.
- Among the Most impressive Lake athletes: Aaron Zoerner, Michael Hobbs, Shae Suianoa, Quinton Williams.
- Best Lake Post players under 6'6": Wes Robertson 1995, Jimmy Witten 2007, Chris Stenerson 2015, others.......??
- Number of freshmen to play Varsity basketball at Lake (full district schedule): 7; Under Coach McDonald: Andre Joseph (college: Oregon), Richard Law (2002)(South Alabama), Armie Lewis (2007) (Dallas Baptist Univ.). Under Coach Penders: Paris Clayton (in 2010-11), Jordan Davis (class of 2015) (A&M/Louisville football). Jeremiah Maldonado (freshman in 2016), Shae Suiaunoa (freshman 2016) (Shae did not play the last three district games on the varsity because he requested to be moved down to the JV for more playing time). Note: no freshman ever played at Clear Lake under Coach Krueger.
- First season Lake had two freshmen on Varsity: 2015-16.
- Most reliable, dependable, considerate, and faithful players off the court in the last 25 years: Matt McCollum (also academic ALL-STATE), Scott Bolen (2016).
- One of the funniest moments: In the '70's in a game against maybe Worthing. With 40 seconds left in the game, as their player brought the ball down the court the crazy Lake student crowd starts the countdown 7-6-5-4-3-2-1. The player launched one from beyond the mid-court line believing time was about to expire. There were 30 seconds left on the clock. Lake won. *
- Last Clear Lake player to score a basket for the other team with a deliberate shot: Justin (Lobo) Stroud, Longview Tournament, 1994.
- Longest time a Clear Lake player lay unconscious on the floor: over 10 minutes, Jake Wexler , Cypress Springs JV game, 199....
- Name most loved by announcer in playoffs: Valentino (man, could he light 'em up)
- Best move-ins so far: David Buckner (class of 1989). Alden Miles (2013 from Deer Park), Ajare Sanni (2016 from Pearland)
- Team with most move-ins: 2016-17 (4)
- Longest winning streak in a season: 26 games by 1984-85 team.
- Spirit Award - Most enthusiastic player on the bench (ever) - Nick Winfield 2014-15.
- Only player to be awarded Defensive Player of the Year, Hustle Award, and Unsung Hero Award (all the same year) - Zaid Harris 2018.
- Scariest game: at Baytown Lee - late 1980's... Brawl broke out among both players and fans when Lake's Valentino pinned a Lee player to the wall for repeated, uncalled foulings. Although some were not Lee students, approximately 30 student-age Lee fans poured from the stands onto the floor to start the melee as it grew. Security was one frail senior citizen cop. Lee coach immediately fled from the gym. UIL issued no sanctions or punishment to Lee High School. Clear Lake has been back once since (see worst officiating below).
- Longest game: The longest Clear Lake Varsity game played was a four overtime 98-106 loss on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 against North Shore. The game had been postponed one day to allow attendance at a memorial service for Deer Park Head Coach and former Clear Lake basketball MVP Billy Carlisle who had unexpectedly passed away the previous Friday night after coaching his Deer Park team in the last district game of the season. In addition, the game start had been delayed over one hour due to severe thunderstorms and power outages in the area.
- Longest and coldest bus ride for a team: Trip to West Plains, Missouri (December 1988). Despite having a GreyHound bus reserved for the trip, Krueger was too parsimonious and opted instead for a "Yellow Hound" (school bus). With no heat on the bus on the trip there, the old yellow school bus broke down on the side of the road. **
- Number of times Clear Lake has not made the playoffs: 7 times in 45 years.
- First time Clear Lake carried a squad of 15 varsity players: 2014-15.
- Youngest Clear Lake team: 2015-16 - 2 freshmen and 2 sophomores on varsity.
- Most inconsistent Clear Lake teams: 2015-16, 2017-18
- Only Clear Lake Team to never win 3 games in a row: 2015-16.
- Another uniqueness of 2015-16 team: In the 8 team district (7 games in each round), the second round was a reverse mirror image of the first round . In other words, until the last game of district play, the teams Lake lost to in the first round Lake defeated in the second round (except for Creek). The teams Lake defeated in the first round all defeated Lake in the second round. Never happened before.
- Among the most polite players ever: Wes Robertson (1995); Blake Apel (2001?); Anthony Maggio; Dan Rieke; Gordon Abner (2005), R. J. Turner (2007); Armie Lewis (2007), Matt McCollum (2009)
- Best player/artist to design the team's logo: Dominic McHenry
- First player to ever have 6 vowels in his last name - Shae Suiaunoa 2015-16
- First time Clear Lake ever opened a season 0-3 - 2016-17.
- Among the most consistently clever, unobtrusive and unnoticed players to gain position, acquire the ball, and repeatedly score: Fulton Brisco (2007) (nicknamed the "silent assassin").
- Winningest smile : John Braxton
- Most sly smile: Kenton Fisher
- Biggest crowd at a Home game before Krueger Field House opened: Clear Creek at Lake, every game in the 80's and 1990's.
- First Place in Cake Tossing: Clear Lake at Clear Creek in the second district meeting in 1988. The gym was packed to see # 3 ranked Clear Creek and #5 ranked Clear Lake battle it out. Fans were sitting on the floor all the way around the gym. In the second quarter of the game with Lake down by 20 points someone from high up in the Clear Lake student section hurled a frosted layer cake from the stands all the way to midway between the Creek bench and the free throw line. The explosion of that cake on impact was something to see. Creek head coach Buddy Carlisle, in his tenth year as head coach, wanted a forfeit. After the long delay to clean up the mess, Lake rallied and won the game in overtime 88-87.
- Most vulgar opposing fan behavior : at Kingwood, 2004. School did offer a letter of apology after a formal request.
- Rudest crowd behavior: at Humble, 2004 (Humble Band positioned right behind Clear Lake bench and horns played loudly at every time out).
- Worst Officiated Games:
1 - 1988 Regional Finals overtime loss to eventual state champions Houston Sam Houston 78-76. Referee ( a San Antonio deputy sheriff as I remember) erroneously called a technical foul on Coach Krueger because Krueger turned his back to the ref when a foul was called. Krueger was actually asking the scorekeeper how many fouls a player had. This call altered the outcome of the game. Clear Lake had a noticeably better team than Sam Houston but missed 18 free throws.
2 - Runnerup - 2005 Lake win at Baytown Lee. Officials would have struggled to call a seventh grade girls game.
- Dumbest UIL Rule: It is against UIL policy to permit video recording of a high school basketball game without prior approval of both schools.
- Best and biggest tournament in the state - Pasadena's McDonald's Texas Invitational. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 80 teams (48 boys teams, 32 girls teams) participate in the largest tournament of its kind in the country. 2012 was the 10th year of the tourney. 14 teams will travel at least 200 miles to play in it most years. In 2012, 10 of the top 25 5A teams in the state and 2 of the top 10 4A teams participated. Extremely well planned and well executed tournament that just keeps getting better every year. Thank you, Mr. Ben Meador.
- In the 24 years of the Krueger dynasty, Lake teams finished first or second in district in 22 of 24 years!
- In the 13 years of the McDonald era, Lake teams finished first or second in the district 10 of 13 years!
- Length of time since Clear Lake's most avid fan has missed a Clear Lake Varsity basketball game: 28 years and counting (last game missed in December 1990). as of Jan 1, 2018. As of the start of the 2018-19 season 956 consecutive games have been attended.