Mustangs avenge Minutemen’s double-OT win
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Fox Tech, Jefferson, Kennedy, Memorial.
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Expectations are a bit elevated for a young Jefferson team this year, and the Mustangs did nothing recently to lower them in the first week of the season.
Jefferson (4-2) avenged an earlier loss to Memorial in the Edgewood ISD Tournament to claim the championship with a 58-54 victory Nov. 22 at Edgewood Gym. The Minutemen (5-2) had defeated the Mustangs 78-77 in double overtime a day earlier in pool play.
“We’re a little inexperienced,” Jefferson coach Eric de los Santos said, “but we have some talent we haven’t had in a while. I’m looking forward to this group (developing).”
Kennedy (4-2) defeated Fox Tech (2-4) 60-50 in the third-place game for an all-area harvest of the trophies.
“We lost some seniors (to graduation) who were with me in our playoff year,” Kennedy coach David Alonzo said. “These kids were my sophomores on that playoff team.”
In the championship game, Jefferson closed the third quarter with a 17-3 run that broke open a tight game. Junior guard Anthony Friere nailed a three-point basket from the right wing with .4 seconds left in the quarter to cap the run.
Memorial whittled the 47-34 deficit down with an 8-1 spurt in the fourth quarter, thanks largely to its ability to get to the foul line and cash in. With 2:22 remaining, the Minutemen were within 52-46.
A technical on the Mustangs 11 seconds later enabled senior Bryan Obregon to sink four free throw attempts. Obregon converted both the foul shots from the technical and personal free throws.
Tournament most valuable player Noah Soto led Jefferson with 16 points. The 6-foot-3 sophomore scored the game’s last basket on a floater with 1:12 left.
Memorial made the closing seconds interesting.
Obregon (20 points) made 14 of 15 free throws. He was fouled on a three-point shot with 19.5 seconds left and the Minutemen trailing 56-52. The senior guard made the first two attempts, but missed the third. Soto claimed the rebound and secured Jefferson’s win.
“We were expecting a championship all the way,” Soto said. “We were a little disappointed that we lost one (game), but we didn’t expect anything less than a championship.”
Guards Dominic Perez and Friere supplied 15 and 11 points, respectively, for the Mustangs. Jacob Elias scored seven, including a layup with 1:39 remaining.
Memorial senior Xavier Abrigo scored 14 points and football standout Jose Pargas chipped in nine. The Minutemen played without backup point guard Cristobal Hernandez
“It was a pretty even tournament,” Memorial coach Jon Sanchez said. “We had a lot of tight games. I don’t know what it is with us and Jefferson. It always turns out to be a nail-biter.
“We’re learning, but it’s a great group of kids. We had been substituting five and five, but we decided to go with our normal subs (in the championship game). We’ve got to learn to play together.”
In the semifinals, Memorial defeated Fox Tech 63-50 and Jefferson edged Kennedy 48-46. The Rockets won Pool B, while the Minutemen won Pool A.
“I think, when we start playing together a little bit more, we’ll be more explosive,” Alonzo said. “We had some turnovers that need to be addressed. But the boys are doing what I’ve asked them to do.”
Isaac Castro and Julian Landeros led Kennedy with 13 points each against Fox Tech. Quentan Bell and Marc Esquivel scored eight apiece.
“I think they’re coming along slowly,” Alonzo said, “but they’re coming along well.”
Nick Buys led Fox Tech with 20 points. Jacob Ortiz and Gabriel Tirado each scored seven.
MORE TO COME