AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: East Central.
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Two coaches known for turning Brackenridge into a Class 4A basketball power made a triumphant return to the area Dec. 22.
Former Eagles girls basketball coach Patrick Harvey and ex-Brack boys coach Ed Hooi – now Harvey’s assistant – brought their Antonian team to the Stan Bonewitz Center at East Central Dec. 22. The Apaches (20-3), No. 10 in the Express-News area rankings, led the last 27 minutes on the way to a 61-44 win over the host Hornets (9-9).
“They play the way I want us to play,” East Central coach Ian Ward said. “They play as a team, like nobody else in San Antonio.”
Ward, a former St Mary’s University men’s basketball player and assistant coach, is in his first year at East Central. He coached at Laredo United the last four years.
“I want my kids to be college-ready,” he said. “If we run it, it has been tried and tested. It’s a free-flowing offense. We can only hope to be as fluid (as Antonian).”
Harvey is in his first year at Antonian after coaching three years at CASA following his stint at Brackenridge. He said he simply asked Hooi, who last coached the Eagles five years ago, if he wanted to coach again.
Antonian had lost three of its previous five games before the non-district contest.
“I think we’re out of our little funk,” Harvey said. “We hadn’t been playing three or four quarters very well, but they played a full game tonight.”
East Central led briefly and the score was tied three times in the first five minutes. A three-point basket from Brianna Ford tied it 4-4. Junior point guard Brittany Rodgers (14 points, 5 assists) tied it again with a three-point play and gave the Hornets an 11-9 with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
Antonian scored the next 16 points until East Central 6-foot-2 sophomore Nalyssa Smith (16 points, 11 rebounds) scored on an assist from Rodgers with 6:31 until halftime.
“Brittany kept fighting to the very end,” Ward said. “She played all 32 minutes and she’s done that numerous times. She has definitely bought into what we’re doing.”
The Hornets closed within 34-22 at halftime, but a three-pointer from Antonian junior Bailey Boyle (20 points) began a 9-2 run. Boyle made consecutive three-pointers that put the game out of East Central’s reach after a pair of free throws from Smith made it 50-37 with 3:45 remaining.
“When Bailey makes one (3-pointer),” Harvey said, “she usually makes two or three.”
Rodgers and Smith each scored six points for the Hornets in the fourth quarter. The Apaches received 17 points from Sandy Ramirez and 11 from Brittany Parker.
The teams were scheduled to meet again Dec. 29 in the Boerne ISD Tournament.
“I’m glad we get a chance to play them again,” Ward said. “We can use that as a measuring stick to see how much progress we’ve made.”