Eagles suddenly winning by wide margins
AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Edison.
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Earlier in the season, Brackenridge’s young team struggled to win close games. Lately, the Eagles have been avoiding them altogether.
Brackenridge (12-10, 6-4) claimed its fifth-consecutive District 28-5A.victory Friday at Harlandale. It finally was the nail-biting victory the Eagles had been working toward for so long. After winning the previous four by an average margin of 14.5 points, Brack edged the Indians (14-13, 3-7) 67-64.
“We stepped up and hit some big shots,” Brackenridge coach Joey Isaac said. “Our point guard (Isiah Saenz) handled the ball really well and hit a couple of shots. They’re beginning to believe they can win games, that’s the big difference. They believe in each other.”
Brackenridge also defeated Edison (9-16, 4-6) 58-41 Tuesday at Alamo Convocation Center to help the Eagles ascend to third place in 28-5A. The sixth-place Golden Bears had won their first meeting 55-54 in overtime Dec. 9.
Both teams have surged in the district race since.
“We just had to start playing as a team,” Brackenridge junior post Richard Wallace said. “We’re doing everything better now. We’re focused on our goals and we’ve stepped it up a notch.”
The Golden Bears rebounded to defeat Highlands (9-15, 4-5) 58-51 Friday at Alamo Convocation Center. It was their second win in three games after losing their previous four, as Edison hopes to move into playoff position.
“Most of the teams I’ve had the past few years have finished (the district) strong,” Edison coach Art Vela said. “It’s a dogfight in our district. If we’d scored seven or eight more points, we’d have two or three more wins.”
Edison scored the first six points against Brackenridge, four by senior Lorenzo Vela (the coach’s son). The Eagles tied it with five uninterrupted points from Saenz (12 points, 3 assists), including a three-point basket. The sophomore also added another three-pointer to what became a 15-1 run.
Brackenridge never trailed after the rally.
“In this four-game winning streak,” Isaac said after the Edison game, “We haven’t gotten down on ourselves. We just keep playing together. It has been a total team effort.”
With Brack ahead 16-11 and 5:55 left until halftime, Edison ran off seven unanswered points. Senior post Joseph Ortiz contributed a pair of free throws and a layup off an assist from Jared Zapata.
The Eagles responded once again, with a rebound basket from junior Richard Wallace (15 points, 11 rebounds) and a pull-up jumper from Saenz.
The inside combination of Wallace and Jalen Davis (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) proved difficult for Edison to cope with.
“I guess having more experience on varsity, I should be able to lead the team, and I’m able to,” said Wallace, a second-year starter. “Jalen is a really big help. At the beginning of the season, he was a little bit rusty from football. Now, he’s fitting in well.”
A three-pointer from Nathan Avila and a short jumper from Ortiz brought Edison within 30-26 early in the third quarter. The Eagles finished the quarter with a 6-2 spurt, highlighted by a Jonathan King three-pointer, and the Golden Bears couldn’t mount another challenge, despite 11 fourth-quarter points from Lorenzo Vela (18 points).