If the Pickering Red Devils were in District 5-B instead of District 4-2A, they would have to like their chances at a district title.
Especially after beating four teams from 5-B in three days.
The Red Devils (13-3) held off a game effort from the Hornbeck Hornets on Saturday night to capture first place in the H-Town Holiday Jam at Hornbeck High School, 70-65.
Pickering, which beat District 5-B teams Evans, Simpson and Anacoco to reach the finals against Hornbeck, another 5-B squad, got off to a quick 6-0 start as Brendan Smith knocked down a three-pointer and then converted a conventional three-point play to give the Red Devils the early lead.
Hornbeck (11-10) answered back with a 7-0 run, getting a bucket each from R.J. Prince and Justin Alford, along with a long three-pointer by Patrick Fluitt, taking a brief lead.
Pickering responded with a three from Javon Boyd, but a bucket from Cody Wilson tied it up at 9-9.
The first quarter featured two more ties, but Pickering had the lead at the end of the frame as Smith drilled a three-pointer near the buzzer to give the Red Devils a 16-13 edge.
Wilson tied it up again with a three-pointer to open the second period, but Pickering managed to go up by five points, 23-18, after Blake Allen sank a three-pointer.
The Red Devils managed to hold onto that four-point advantage for a few minutes before getting a boost from sophomore standout John Isaac.
After being held scoreless for the first quarter and about four minutes into the second, Isaac made his scoring debut worth waiting for as he slammed home a one-handed dunk to give Pickering a 30-24 lead.
A little later, Isaac recorded his second dunk of the night, taking the alley-oop feed from Joey Smith to slam down a 36-30 lead for the Red Devils.
But by the end of the first half, Prince had scored again for the Hornets, getting Hornbeck to within four at the break, 36-32.
The Red Devils jumped out to a seven-point lead early in the second half as Isaac drained a quick three-pointer. Eventually, the Hornets got back to within one, 41-40, as Christopher Soileau came to life offensively with back-to-back baskets.
Again, Pickering went back up by seven points, but the Hornets closed to within three, 51-48, at the end of the third quarter.
Early on in the fourth, the game was tied three different times, but Hornbeck was never able to get in front.
When Brendan Smith scored on a layup and two free throws to give Pickering a 61-57 edge, the Hornets were only able to get back to within three points the rest of the way as the Red Devils secured the victory at the free throw line.
Brendan Smith led Pickering with 32 points, while Isaac notched 12 points. Johnathan Turner added nine points, while Boyd finished with eight points.
Prince paced the Hornets with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Alford had 14 points. Wilson chipped in with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Soileau and Fluitt finished with nine points each.