BOYS BASKETBALL: Brackenridge sets itself up for memorable 2015-16

Scoreless stretch leads to bi-district loss




When coaches talk about returning nine players for next season, you can generally bet that their sport is football.

Brackenridge coach Joey Isaac had arguably the area’s most surprising boys basketball team in 2014-15. Next year’s squad won’t look appreciably different. Wing Everette Patino was the only senior in the Eagles lineup during its 16-13 season, which ended Feb. 24 with a hard-fought 70-62 loss to Floresville (25-11).

Just three seniors were on the Brackenridge roster.

“I’m not taking anything away from the seniors,” Isaac said. “They got us back where Brackenridge is supposed to be. Their competitiveness has given the (returnees) something to build on.”

The Eagles shared second place in District 28-5A with Burbank and Sam Houston.

Brackenridge led 16-15 at the end of the first quarter against Floresville. A three-point basket by sophomore Isiah Saenz (18 points), his third in the first eight minutes.

The Tigers built a 33-25 lead with 2:42 remaining in the half, but Brackenridge rallied. Richard Wallace (23 points, 9 rebounds) scored six unanswered points to put the Eagles within four.

“Wally just did a great job,” Isaac said. “Man, that kid is just physical. He really wants it. I’m so proud of him.”

A fast-break layup by Saenz closed the gap to 35-33 at intermission.

A free throw from junior post Jalen Davis (11 rebounds) and a three-point basket from Nathan Avila provided the Eagles a 45-41 lead late in the third quarter. Avila (9 points) also sank a pair of techncal free throws and another three-pointer for a 54-47 advantage less than a minute into the final quarter.

“Nathan hit some big shots,” Isaac said of the 5-foot-5 guard. “They tried to take advantage of him being so small and posting him up, but he hit his share of them.”

Soon thereafter, Brackenridge experienced a four-minute scoreless drought. Floresville ran off 11 unanswered points before Wallace made a free throw that brought the Eagles within 62-59.

“Their point guard (Jared Kotzur) is big and (Chris Albert) is a great all-around player,” Isaac said. “Our game plan worked. We got them in foul trouble. Then we had a stretch where we couldn’t get a call, and they knocked their free throws down.”

Saenz was fouled on a three-point shot with 37.8 seconds. His two free throws reduced Floresville’s lead to a point, but Brack went cold again.

“If we would have made our free throws, it would have been different,” Isaac said. “But that’s part of being young and it’s a great lesson to learn.”

Tigers junior Bradley Bunn sank a pair of foul shots with 31.9 seconds left. Brackenridge couldn’t get closer than 68-62 thereafter.

“I feel like we represented the district well,” Isaac said. “I feel like we did everything we could. It just came down to one of their runs at the end.”

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