BOYS BASKETBALL: Memorial seems to be closing in on first 27-5A win

Minutemen took Champion and San Marcos to the wire




Its first District 27-5A victory continues to elude Memorial, but the Minutemen remained right on the cusp of it.

Memorial (7-18, 0-8) lost its last three games in the district by a combined total of just 19 points. That includes an 11-point loss to rival Kennedy Jan. 9 that was closer than the score indicated.

At Edgewood Gym Jan. 16, the Minutemen took a 64-59 lead into the fourth quarter against San Marcos (12-12, 6-2). The Rattlers, who share second place in 27-5A, averted the upset with a 92-87 win.

In the loss, Minutemen senior guard Bryan Obregon scored 34 points and San Marcos’ Steven Price finished with 36.

“It was frustrating,” Memorial coach Jon Sanchez said, “but we played better than we’d been playing in the past, especially (against San Marcos). Bryan had one of his best games. They just shot the ball better than we did.”

Memorial was even closer to victory Jan. 13 against Boerne Champion (11-11, 3-4). The Chargers hit a three-point basket as time expired for a 54-51 win after the Minutemen tied it 15 seconds from the end.

“The kid caught it with two seconds on the clock,” Sanchez said. “It came down to that they hit the shots they needed to, and we didn’t.”

Despite the disappointments, Memorial and Kennedy (7-16, 1-7) – which lost a 61-60 heartbreaker to perennial powerhouse Alamo Heights in overtime Jan. 13 – have shown they can be competitive in the tough district. The football teams representing the Edgewood ISD schools proved to be overmatched.

“Our defense is playing really well,” Sanchez said. “That’s what has kept us in games.”

Against San Marcos, the Minutemen missed an open three-point shot from the right corner after the Rattlers had taken the lead. San Marcos made it a five-point final margin by making its free throws.

“Our guards can get by people,” Sanchez said. “We don’t have enough people who can finish. The exception is (Gabriel) McGarity.”

Obregon is capable of making long-distance shots regularly, but that phase of his game wasn’t working against San Marcos. So, the point guard compensated.

“He played an all-around game,” Sanchez said. “He was getting shots, and he’s our best rebounding guard. He does a lot of little things. He was getting to the rim, but he wasn’t hitting a lot of threes. He only had two or three, but he was getting a lot of layups and ‘and-ones.’ ”

McGarity, a sophomore, contributed 16 points. Jordan Portillo scored 10. C.J. Hernandez and Alfred Ramos, a three-year starting quarterback in football, added eight points apiece.

“McGarity has done a good job of making our defense better,” Sanchez said. “He’s getting better.”

On the heels of the loss to Kennedy, Memorial regrouped to stay close to Boerne Champion throughout. The Rockets contained Memorial’s offensive efforts by limiting fast-break opportunities and utilizing a 2-3 zone defense.

“They were just trying too hard and I was on them too hard,” Sanchez said of the Kennedy loss. “They were trying to do too much, but I think they figured it out after that game.”

As the Minutemen embark on the second half of district season, Sanchez said he planned to move up a pair of younger players from their underclass teams and continue to improve the team’s offensive efficiency.

“If we keep playing the way we’ve been playing,” Sanchez said, “we have a chance to win multiple games in the second half. We play better defense than most of the teams in our district.”

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