BASEBALL WEEKEND REPORT: McCollum gets sneak preview of 29-4A at Southwest Tourney

South San finishes one win short of NEISD Tourney finals

Photos taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit: http://kjtoso.photoshelter.com

Highlands' Joshua Ortega slides into third base and looks back for the call in a NEISD Tournament game against Taft.
Highlands’ Joshua Ortega slides into third base and looks back for the call in a NEISD Tournament game against Taft.
Highlands shortstop Bryan Ortega hones in on a grounder Feb. 27 against Taft.
Highlands shortstop Bryan Ortega hones in on a grounder Feb. 27 against Taft.
Highlands first baseman Gilbert Gomez keeps his foot on the bag while executing a stretch,  recording an out in the Owls' 3-2 win over Taft.
Highlands first baseman Gilbert Gomez keeps his foot on the bag while executing a stretch, recording an out in the Owls’ 3-2 win over Taft.

Owls senior Steven Martinez was the winning pitcher against Taft. Martinez also delivered a triple and two RBIs as a hitter.
Owls senior Steven Martinez was the winning pitcher against Taft. Martinez also delivered a triple and two RBIs as a hitter.

TEAMS INCLUDEDCentral Catholic, Edison, Harlandale, Highlands, Kennedy, McCollum, Memorial, Sam Houston, South San, Southwest.

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE SOUTHSIDE REPORTER STORY:

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McCollum split four games at the Southwest Tournament last weekend, but may have emerged with something valuable as the District 29-4A season gets underway this Friday.

The Cowboys (8-2) got a chance to matchup against two of its district rivals, including title favorite Medina Valley within the confines of the tournament. McCollum begins its 29-4A season Friday at Floresville.

McCollum lost 4-0 to Medina Valley, No. 8 in the Express-News area rankings, last Thursday at Southwest. The Cowboys, though, bounced back to defeat archrival Harlandale 13-6 last Friday in a battle of prospective playoff contenders.

The Cowboys, under first-year coach Hector Delgadillo after Jose Garza accepted an administrative position at McCollum, faced a four-run deficit three innings into their tournament opener against Medina Valley (7-2-1). Brothers Cody and Kyle Moos limited McCollum to two hits for the Panthers.

Against Harlandale, the Indians (3-6) received two hits from Robert Palomino and two RBIs from Ramzey Martinez. However, they couldn’t compete with McCollum’s offensive onslaught. Individual statistics for the Cowboys were not available.

McCollum also blanked Stevens 8-0 and fell 4-3 to Jay on Friday.

Harlandale wasn’t able to pick up a win in the tournament. It lost 8-2 to district rival Uvalde and 4-1 to the host team on Friday. Palomino collected three hits and Christian Slocum had two against the Dragons (5-2-1). Southwest individual statistics were not available.

Southwest, which won the SAISD Tournament a week earlier, tied Uvalde 2-2 Thursday and lost 7-1 to Brennan Friday.

NEISD Tournament

South San (7-5) was within one game of the NEISD Tournament championship game last Saturday, but fell 4-2 to Austin Bowie. The Bobcats subsequently fell 5-1 to Clark, their second loss to the Cougars in the three-day tournament, to finish with a 3-2 record at the Blossom Athletic Complex.

The Bobcats had edged Brandeis 4-3 and defeated Roosevelt 8-4 last Friday to put themselves in the semifinals.

“We’ve managed to battle,” South San coach Robert Zamora said. “The problem is that we give up runs early in the game, then we have to battle just to get back into the game. Take out the first inning against Bowie, and we were right in it.”

The Bobcats defeated Brandeis on the strength of a two-run, sixth-inning home run from senior Adrian Gallegos. Isaac Lugo was the winning pitcher for South San.

Highlands (4-6) defeated Taft 3-2 Thursday and Roosevelt 9-7 Saturday in the tournament. Steven Martinez belted a two-run triple that helped make him the winning pitcher against Taft. Martinez struck out six and allowed just one earned run against the Raiders.

Edgewood ISD Tournament

Kennedy (4-4) opened the tournament at Edgewood Field with a 15-2 win over Sam Houston Thursday, but the Rockets had mixed results on the tournament’s final day.

The Rockets’ Miguel Zamarripa limited Sam Houston to three hits, while the offense provided a nine-run cushion.

They defeated Dilley 4-1 last Saturday, but lost 5-1 to St. Anthony (8-4). Sophomore ace Fabian Del Toro was the winning pitcher for Kennedy against Dilley. The Rockets took charge with three runs in the second inning.

Sam Houston (1-7) picked up its first victories of the season, edging Memorial 13-9 Friday. Hurricanes pitcher Rudy Lopez notched the win. Ivan DeAnda hit a home run for the Minutemen.

Memorial (3-7) bounced back to defeat Edison (0-7) 8-4 and Cole 11-10 on Friday. The Minutemen also squeaked past Edison 8-7 on Thursday. In the Cole win, Memorial wiped out an 8-0 deficit with six runs in the third inning and five in the fourth.

Judson Tournament

Central Catholic (7-4) won three of five games at the Judson Tournament over the weekend. The Buttons defeated Hays 2-1 and Laredo United South 11-5 Thursday and Wagner 13-5 Friday.

The Buttons scored single runs in the first and fourth inning against Hays and took a 2-0 shutout into the sixth and final inning. Central Catholic cruised to victory against United South after scoring six runs in the top of the first inning. Against Wagner, the Buttons broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the top of the second.

Individual statistics for Central Catholic were unavailable for all tournament games.

SOFTBALL: Uvalde’s clutch hits overwhelm Harlandale

Lobos break open 29-4A opener with 10-run seventh

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE SOUTHSIDE REPORTER STORY:

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Sometimes the frequency of hits isn’t as important as when they materialize.

Uvalde’s base hits all seemed to arrive when the Lobos (7-7, 1-0) needed them Friday at the Frank Tejeda Complex. In the District 29-4A opener for both teams, the visitors only mustered two more hits than Harlandale (6-7-1, 0-1) but they utilized them to fashion a 17-4 victory.

“That was one of those nights I didn’t expect,” Uvalde coach Lee Summers said. “Normally, when we play Harlandale, it’s a two- or three-run game. The girls did a good job of (hitting in clutch situations) tonight.”

Harlandale took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Sabrina Esparza sliced a leadoff doubles to right-center field. Indians shortstop Jackie Espinoza followed with a tying RBI single, answering a run the Lobos had scored in the top half of the inning without the benefit of a hit.

A sacrifice fly from.freshman catcher Angelika Anguiano, a defensive standout, provided the short-lived lead. Uvalde tied it 2-2 in the top of the second after No. 9 hitter Merilee Parker smacked a double.

It was the only hit Harlandale junior pitcher Isabella Tellez permitted through the first three innings. Unfortunately, control was an issue for the first-year starter. She walked five and hit a batsman in that span. “We have a lot of players in new positions,” Harlandale coach Jennifer Bocanegra said. “We have a new pitcher and a new freshman catcher, who’s really stepped up and taken on a big role. She’s coming on, offensively and defensively.”

Bocanegra credited Espinoza, Esparza and first baseman Brittany Livas for providing stability while the positional newcomers develop.

Tellez gave up to walks in the fourth, ahead of a bases-clearing double from Uvalde standout Alessandra Ortiz (1-for-2, 5 RBI). The two-out extra-base hit gave the Lobos a 5-2 advantage.

Maya Tovar supplied a leadoff single in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch, bringing the Indians within 5-3. Uvalde added two runs without a hit in the sixth, then struck for 10 in the final inning as Esparza made her second appearance in the pitcher’s circle.

“Our biggest goal is the three key roles we need every year: steady pitching, consistent defense and timely hitting,” Bocanegra said. “We did have nine hits, but they weren’t timely hits.

“Coming into the season, hitting is what we were challenged to do. We need to outscore opponents to give our pitcher a lot of room not to be afraid to make a mistake.”

Uvalde scored its sixth-inning runs on a fielder’s choice and a walk. In the seventh, eight-consecutive batters reached base with one out. Six hit their way on. The Lobos had three doubles in the inning, including a two-run drive from winning pitcher Morgan Henderson and a three-run smash from Adrianna Estrada.

After finishing second in 29-4A last year, the Lobos have high aspirations for the district season.

“I think we’re starting to get some things to come together,” Summers said. “The girls are pumped up. Their goal is to win district. That’s the carrot we’re playing for. I think we can do it.”

Harlandale has 11 seniors on the roster, the most Bocanegra ever has had with the Indians.

She said an 8-2 win over McCollum a week earlier in the Harlandale ISD Tournament showed that her team is capable of being in the playoff mix in 29-4A. They hit from the leadoff position to the bottom of the order.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the games we need to win and steal a couple from the teams that are a challenge for us,” Bocanegra said. “Stealing games from the teams that our bigger competitors really is our biggest key.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: Sam Houston may be 3A state Cinderella, but has prepared for challenge

Hurricanes reach state for first time since 2005 with regional-final win over West Oso

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE SOUTHSIDE REPORTER STORY:

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Sam Houston may look like the Cinderella of the Class 3A state finalists – given the Hurricanes’ relative youth and inexperience – but the proverbial glass slipper doesn’t fit quite as well as some might believe.

The Hurricanes (27-9) were ranked No. 6 in the final Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll. They’ll play No. 1 Dallas Madison (28-3) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin in the semifinals.

The other semifinal will pit No. 2 Kennedale (38-0) against No. 3 Houston Yates (23-8). The winners will play at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Erwin Center for the state championship.

“Everybody in Texas assumes that a team from Dallas or Houston is going to be crowned champion,” Sam Houston coach Ike Thornton said. “San Antonio is always going to come out with something to prove, until we consistently outperform those teams.”

The seventh-year Hurricanes coach, who has guided his team to the school’s first state finals appearance since 2005, doesn’t see Sam Houston as a Cinderella, however,

“That’s definitely not a comfortable spot for us,” Thornton said. “We play a tough schedule. We’ve played teams that play on a level the other three teams (at state) play on.”

Sam Houston has won 15 consecutive games since dropping a 73-53 decision to Churchill Jan. 10. The Chargers reached the regional quarterfinals in 5A.

Madison, whom Sam Houston played earlier in the year, made it to the 5A Region IV finals. Hurricanes opponents Central Catholic and San Antonio Christian advanced to the state quarterfinals in their respective classes, and Sam Houston lost to them by a combined eight points. The Hurricanes defeated Laredo Alexander (73-61), which reached the 5A regional quarters.

Sam Houston played nine 5A playoff qualifiers, defeating Southwest 57-55, El Paso Montwood 60-51 and Johnson 72-58 in addition to Alexander. It blasted 4A qualifier Austin McCallum 59-43.

The Hurricanes’ journey to the state semifinals consisted of five wins by margins of more than 16 points. Sam Houston has averaged 71.8 points and limited opponents to a 49.0 average.

Sam Houston locked in the trip to Austin with a 72-46 win over Corpus Christi West Oso (23-6) Saturday at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi. The Bears eliminated Sam Houston in the regional semifinals in 2011 and 2012.

“They were ready to go,” Thornton said. “We had a 7 a.m. team wake up and several of them were already up and ready to go..They went to bed on time and kept focusing on the task at hand, which was winning the regional.”

The Hurricanes, who will making the school’s sixth trip to state, established a commanding 23-6 lead early in the Region IV championship game. Their lead reached 20 points in the third quarter, and Sam Houston cruised to the victory.

Sam Houston had a 27-8 advantage after eight minutes and led 35-22 at the half. The Bears outscored the Hurricanes 14-8 in the second quarter.

“Watching (West Oso) play in the semifinals against Wharton, we saw that they could get up and down the court in a hurry,” Thornton said. “Wharton pressed pretty much the whole game and it gave West Oso the opportunity to play to their strengths.

“We didn’t press them at all. We played strictly halfcourt defense and mixed it up between a zone and (man-to-man).”

West Oso could get no closer. After the lead reached 20 late in the third quarter, the Bears scored the next four points, but were unable to build on the momentum.

All four classes were represented among Sam Houston’s leading scorers on a team that starts one senior, one junior, two sophomores and a freshman.

Senior Jordon Harris produced a game-high 31 points to lead Sam Houston. Harris scored 17 points in the first half.

“(Jordon) pretty much started it,” Thornton said. “He’s our starting point guard and pretty much cut their head off early in the game, and set the tone.”

Junior post Devin Allen contributed 14 points. Sophomore wing Robert Christian, who is becoming a more consistent scorer in the post season, finished with 14 points. Freshman guard Jawon Anderson added eight points.

The margin of victory actually was typical of the Hurricanes’ postseason run. In the five games, Sam Houston has averaged 71.8 points and limited opponents to a 49.0 average. It has won each of those games by 16 or more points.

Sam Houston advanced to the regional final by defeating 63-42 win over Hidalgo (30-9) Friday at American Bank Center. The Hurricanes forced 26 turnovers.

Although Sam Houston led Hidalgo 16-4 at one point in the first quarter, the Pirates were within 21-17 at halftime.

“We were flat,” Thornton said. “We had foul trouble, and some of the guys on the floor weren’t playing at the same level as some of the guys on the bench had. Also, Jordon didn’t play well in the first half. He was just out of rhythm.”

The Hurricanes scored 11 points in the first two minutes of the second half, knocking down three 3-point baskets during the spurt. Eventually, they scored 15 of the first 17 points in the half to open a 17-point advantage.

By the end of the third-quarter, Sam Houston led 49-27. The Hurricanes scored 28 points in the eight-minute span, while limiting Hidalgo to 10.

The Pirates closed to 55-40 with 4:57 remaining, but the Hurricanes rallied again. Sam Houston finished the game on an 8-2 run.

Hidalgo made the game close at the half after Sam Houston endured a scoring drought of more than six minutes. The Hurricanes mustered just five points in the second quarter.

“We didn’t feel like we were in any danger,” Thornton stressed. “We felt like it was just a matter of time before we broke the game open.”

Harris, one of just two seniors in the Hurricanes’ playing rotation and the only senior starter, led Sam Houston with 22 points. Christian produced 18 points. Allen chipped in 11 points. Sophomore Raymonte Prime contributed eight.

Sam Houston is the second team that Thornton has taken to the state tournament, but the first in Texas. The University of Texas-San Antonio alum coached Trotwood Madison, in suburban Dayton, to the large-school classification state tourney 0in Ohio nine years ago.

Then his wife, a San Antonio native, took a job here and he left the junior-dominated team behind. A year later, Thornton landed the Sam Houston job.

The Hurricanes reached the 3A regional semifinals for the fourth-consecutive year. Last season, they advanced to the finals but lost to Royal.

“The last three years have affected the coaching staff more than the kids,” he said. “Primarily, we tried to look in the mirror at our shortcomings and saw what we needed to change. We tried to grow from it every year.

“My first year as a varsity coach in Ohio, after we lost in the playoffs, the next day I went to my mailbox and found this note: ‘The elevator to the top is broken. You must take the stairs.’

“I had never heard that before, but I’ve tried to in my (mind) since.”

Sam Houston made the climb in time to build a bridge to next season, when the returnees will move up to Class 5A (currently 4A) to join their fellow SAISD teams, along with traditional basketball hotbeds Harlandale and McCollum.

“We’re young enough that this should inspire the kids to work hard in the offseason and prepare,” Thornton said, “especially since we’re going to make the jump up to 5A next year.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: Sam Houston returns to state for first time since 2005

Hurricanes overpower former nemesis West Oso for Region IV title

Sam Houston dominated Corpus Christi West Oso from the outset Saturday afternoon to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2005 and sixth time in the program’s storied history.

The Hurricanes (27-9), No. 6 in the final Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll, established a commanding 23-6 lead early in the Class 3A Region IV championship game at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi. Their lead reached 20 points in the third quarter, and Sam Houston cruised to a 72-46 victory.

The Bears eliminated Sam Houston in the regional semifinals in 2011 and 2012.

Sam Houston had a 27-8 advantage after eight minutes and led 35-22 at the half. The Bears outscored the Hurricanes 14-8 in the second quarter.

West Oso could get no closer. After the lead reached 20 late in the third quarter, the Bears scored the next four points, but were unable to build on the momentum.

All four classes were represented among Sam Houston’s leading scorers for a team that starts one senior, one junior, two sophomores and a freshman.

Senior Jordon Harris produced a game-high 31 points to lead Sam Houston. Harris scored 17 points in the first half.

Junior post Devin Allen contributed 14 points. Sophomore Robert Christian, who is becoming a more consistent scorer in the post season, finished with 14 points. Freshman guard Jawon Anderson added eight points.

 The margin of victory actually was typical of the Hurricanes’ postseason run. In the five games, Sam Houston has averaged 71.8 points and limited opponents to a 49.0 average. It has won each of those games by 16 or more points.

Sam Houston’s opponent will be No. 1-ranked Dallas Madison (29-3) at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the state semifinals. No. 2 Kennedale (28-0) and No. 3 Houston Yates (23-6) will play in the other semifinal. The championship game will take place 10 a.m. Saturday.

BOYS BASKETBALL DIGEST: Sam Houston earns second-straight appearance in regional finals

Hurricanes bury Hidalgo after halftime in semifinal

Defense continues to propel Sam Houston.

Through their first four postseason games, the young Hurricanes have held opponents to 49.8 points per outing. Friday in the Class 3A Region IV semifinals at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Sam Houston (26-9) forced 26 turnovers in a 63-42 win over Hidalgo (30-9).

The victory advanced Sam Houston, No. 6 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll, to the finals for the second year in a row. The Hurricanes will play Corpus Christi West Oso (23-5), which registered a mild upset by defeating No. 24 Wharton 57-51 in the other semifinal Friday.

Sam Houston will play West Oso at noon at the American Bank Center. The winner will advance to the Class 3A state tournament next week in Austin.

The Bears eliminated the Hurricanes in the semifinals in 2011 and 2012.

“In three years, we haven’t made it out of there,” Sam Houston coach Ike Thornton said after the Hurricanes’ regional quarterfinal win. “That’s one of our main goals: To get out of Corpus unbeaten.

“We’ll take it one game at a time. I don’t think we’ll have some of the distractions we’ve had in the past. I believe in these kids.”

Defense clearly is a strength for Sam Houston, but it also was an area it was looking to shore up during this weekend.

“We’ve got to get better on help defense if we’re going to get through,” Thornton said. “We’re giving up too much in the paint.”

Although Sam Houston led Hidalgo 16-4 at one point in the first quarter, the Pirates were within 21-17 at halftime.

The Hurricanes scored 11 points in the first two minutes of the second half, knocking down three 3-point baskets during the spurt. Eventually, they scored 15 of the first 17 points in the half to open a 17-point advantage.

By the end of the third-quarter, Sam Houston led 49-27. The Hurricanes scored 28 points in the eight-minute span, while limiting Hidalgo to 10.

The Pirates closed to 55-40 with 4:57 remaining, but the Hurricanes rallied again. Sam Houston finished the game on an 8-2 run.

Hidalgo made the game close at the half after Sam Houston endured a scoring drought of more than six minutes. The Hurricanes mustered just five points in the second quarter.

Guard Jordon Harris, one of just two seniors in the Hurricanes’ playing rotation and the only senior starter, led Sam Houston with 22 points. Sophomore wing Robert Christian produced 18 points. Devin Allen chipped in 11 points. Raymonte Prime contributed eight.

Harris said one of the things he’s tried to instill in the younger players is a sense of what it takes to survive in the postseason.

“This year, the guys are more disciplined than in the past,” the senior guard said. “They actually listen to what you tell them and want to get better.”

Frankie Sanchez led Hidalgo with 21 points.

Sam Houston has qualified for state five times in its storied basketball history, most recently in 2005.

“It helps us a lot,” Allen said of the Hurricanes’ playoff experience. “Last year was tough, because we lost (in the finals). But that’s in the past. We’re focused on right now. We’re trying to learn from that, and play better.

“We’ve put in the extra work. Now, we know we can do it.”

Sam Houston 66, Fredericksburg 50

The Hurricanes faced Fredericksburg (28-9) in regional semifinals for the second-consecutive year. So, they knew exactly what to expect Tuesday at Smithson Valley, including the pitfalls to avoid.

“We didn’t want to take anything lightly,” said Harris, who led Sam Houston with 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

“We didn’t want to let them come back. They’re a good shooting team and they’re really tough. Nobody can shoot the ball like them. They can all shoot the three.”

The Battlin’ Billies responded with a 16-1 run fueled by three-point shooting that finished the third quarter in 2013, after it seemed that Sam Houston had appeared to put the last nail in the coffin. In the rematch, although the score was closer, Sam Houston never buckled after establishing a 14-1 lead with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

“In the first half, it was a different game,” Allen said. “We took care of business and did our job. Certain guys needed to pick up the intensity and work together.”

Fredericksburg never was able to manufacture a run against Sam Houston this year.

“They seemed to come at us with four-point swings,” Thornton said. “Then we were able to make another run and get some separation. I was really concerned about that. You can look at how they played last year, but this year it’s not the same team – for either one of us.

“I didn’t want us to take them lightly. I knew (Fredericksburg coach) Tim Kaman would come out with a good game plan. I knew they’d be tough and stay committed – and when you do that, you have a chance to win.”

Harris scored Sam Houston’s first seven points, converting a three-point play off a steal with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

“Jordon keeps getting better,” Allen said. “He’s a great leader. I look up to him, and so does most of the team.”

Allen (14 points, 4 rebounds) rattled home his first dunk off a defensive rebound from freshman Jawon Anderson (6 points, 4 assists). He followed it up with a layup on an assist from Harris and the Hurricanes led 18-5 late in the opening quarter.

Fredericksburg closed to 18-10 at the quarter’s end after sophomore substitute Cole Bourgeois made a three-pointer and Kyle Reeh scored inside. The Billies cut their deficit to six points twice in the second quarter, but two 3-pointers from Myles Thornton (the coach’s son) helped stave off the threat.

Sam Houston had restored a 10-point lead by halftime.

After a driving layup from Fredericksburg’s 6-foot-5 Clayton Braden (19 points, 11 rebounds), the Hurricanes assembled a 12-2 run the Billies never recovered from.

Prime scored six of his eight points during the run, turning a steal and a pair of offensive rebounds into baskets. Senior Brandon Seals sank a layup off a steal by Anderson. The stretch ended with a fast-break layup from Harris that began with a defensive rebound from Christian.

“We all know how important it is to play good defense,” Harris said. “Our defense creates our offense, so we have to play great defense. Everybody works hard on defense.”

Sam Houston led 44-26 with 1:32 to play in the third quarter. The Billies never were closer than 13 points in the remaining minutes.

For such a young team, it was an open question how they’d fare in the crucible of the regional finals since they haven’t truly been pushed in the postseason so far.

The Hurricanes defeated Wimberley 76-44 in the bi-district round and La Grange 82-63 in the area round. On paper, Fredericksburg loomed as their first big test, but Sam Houston kept the Billies at arm’s length.

On the heels of a convincing win over Hidalgo, history suggests that West Oso will provide their biggest playoff test to date – even though the Bears aren’t ranked.

“We’ve played some pretty good teams before we got into our district,” Thornton said. “They learned about playing together. I think they came in prepared for the playoffs.”

SOFTBALL WEEKEND REPORT: Southwest stuns top-ranked Smithson Valley

East Central takes second in Seguin Tourney; McCollum blanks Southside in 29-4A opener

TEAMS INCLUDEDBurbank, East Central, Edison, Highlands, Holy Cross, Lanier, McCollum, Southside, South San, Southwest.

Yanira Fernandez, Caitlin Terrazas and Kamerie Vidales all hit home runs Friday as Southwest (9-4) overpowered Smithson Valley (11-2), No. 1 in the Express-News area rankings.

The Dragons’ victory at Southwest avenged a 3-1 loss to the Rangers last Saturday on the same diamond. Smithson Valley prevailed in the de facto championship game of the round-robin Southwest Tournament in their initial meeting this season.

The Dragons, No. 5 in the Express-News rankings, had lost their previous two games, including a 2-1 decision Tuesday against No. 4 Judson.

They trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the second inning Friday. Meanwhile, Southwest was about to bring out the big bats.

The Dragons scored five runs in the second inning and six in the third to put the game out of reach.

Terrazas didn’t permit Smithson Valley to score another run. The sophomore, in her second season as a starter, limited the Rangers to four hits.

Southwest mashed 14 hits. It scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule.

Seguin Tournament

East Central (14-3) reached a tournament championship game for the second-consecutive weekend but weren’t able to come out with a second title Saturday in Seguin.

The No. 10 Hornets, who won the East Central-Judson Tournament Feb. 22, lost 7-2 to their co-hosts from that tournament Saturday at Huber Ranch. Judson (15-4) put the game out of reach with a three-run rally in the seventh inning.

East Central, which reached the title game with a 12-0 win over Incarnate Word Saturday, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Rockets answered with four runs spread over the next two innings. The Hornets closed the gap in the bottom of the third, but couldn’t score another run.

The Hornets thumped New Braunfels Canyon 17-2 and New Braunfels (3-6) 13-4 Friday. The victories extended East Central’s winning streak to 11 games.

Against Canyon, East Central scored eight runs apiece in the second and fifth innings to invoke the 10-run rule. Junior Madison Strunk limited the Cougars to three hits.

A big inning transformed the New Braunfels game. The Unicorns trailed 4-3 entering the sixth inning, when the Hornets erupted for nine runs. East Central bashed 22 hits while junior pitcher Taylor Doege scattered eight.

Holy Cross (13-6) split two tournament games Friday, defeating El Paso Burges 11-0 and falling 9-0 to Devine (10-3). The Knights won a pair on Saturday, edging South San (7-6-1) 6-4 and defeating Navarro (9-4) 6-1.

With senior pitcher Julia Ibarra on the mound against South San, Holy Cross took an early lead and held off South San as the Bobcats scored a single run in the fourth and three in the sixth. Senior Nikki Velasquez pitched for South San.

McCollum 11, Southside 0

Junior Kim Abundis pitched a one-hitter, leading the Cowboys (4-3, 1-0) to their third-consecutive win Friday at Southside (3-10, 0-1). It was the District 29-4A opener for both teams.

McCollum scored three runs in the top of the first and pushed across six more in the third.

Highlands 17, Burbank 2 (5 innings)

The Owls (3-5, 1-0) took control of the District 28-4A opener with 12 runs in the first two innings against Burbank (2-8, 0-1) Friday at Villarreal Field No. 1.

Highlands senior pitcher Samantha Lopez allowed three Bulldogs hits. Burbank scored runs in the first and fourth innings.

Edison 10, Lanier 0 (5 innings)

The Golden Bears (0-0, 1-0) played a murderous non-district schedule, but was able to relax in its first District 28-4A game. Edison blanked the Voks (0-0, 0-0) Friday at Villarreal Field No. 1.

Edison senior ace Celeste Vela pitched a three-hit shutout. The Golden Bears supported her with runs in each of the five innings, leading up to a four-run rally that ended the game in the fifth.

BOYS BASKETBALL: East Central vs. O’Connor photo gallery, Feb. 17. 2014 (photos by KJ Toso)

Photos taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit: http://kjtoso.photoshelter.com

Hornets point guard Ceddrick Ali tries to catch an opponent off balance so he can drive.
Hornets point guard Ceddrick Ali tries to catch an opponent off balance so he can drive.

 

East Central senior Jeremy Jones rises for game-winning dunk vs. O'Connor. Jones produced his seventh steal and sealed the win with a dunk 7.7 seconds before the end.
East Central senior Jeremy Jones rises for game-winning dunk vs. O’Connor. Jones produced his seventh steal and sealed the win with a dunk 7.7 seconds before the end.
Jeremy Jones splits two O'Connor defenders.
Jeremy Jones splits two O’Connor defenders.
His East Central teammates celebrate Jeremy Jones' game-winning dunk.
His East Central teammates celebrate Jeremy Jones’ game-winning dunk.

SOFTBALL: South San vs. Memorial photo gallery, Feb. 13, 2014 (photos by KJ Toso)

Photos taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit: http://kjtoso.photoshelter.com

Alyssa Montes connects for South San.
Alyssa Montes connects for South San.
Bridget Gomez (7) locks in on the path of the grounder as a South San runner takes off on contact.
Bridget Gomez (7) locks in on the path of the grounder as a South San runner takes off on contact.
South San senior pitcher Nikki Velasquez has been one of the Bobcats' leaders in her fourth varsity season.
South San senior pitcher Nikki Velasquez has been one of the Bobcats’ leaders in her fourth varsity season.
Memorial's Esther Martinez (14) takes a cut at Nikki Velasquez's pitch.
Memorial’s Esther Martinez (14) takes a cut at Nikki Velasquez’s pitch.
Memorial's Gabriella San Miguel relieved starting pitcher Bridget Gomez against South San.
Memorial’s Gabriella San Miguel relieved starting pitcher Bridget Gomez against South San.

SOFTBALL: This week’s results (thru March 1)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Feb. 23-March 1

Tuesday’s games

Non-district

Holy Cross (9-4)  4, Bandera (0-3 ???) 3
East Central (9-2) 10, Reagan (4-8) 0 (5 innings)
Judson (10-4) 2, Southwest (8-4) 1
Highlands (2-5) 4, Kennedy (2-5) 3
South San (6-1) 13, Burbank (2-7-1) 0 (5 innings)
Lanier (4-5) 22, Memorial (1-6) 7 (3 innings)
Brackenridge (8-3-1) 18, Southside (3-9) 3 (3 innings)
Johnson (10-5) 11, Edison (1-9) 0 (5 innings)
MacArthur (5-8) 12, Harlandale  (6-6-1) 2 (5 innings)
La Pryor (1-0 ???) 24, Sam Houston (0-8) 3 (3 innings)

Jefferson (4-4) vs. Hawkins (0-2 ???) at Mission Concepcion Sports Park, 6 p.m. (score unavailable)

Lee (4-5) vs. McCollum (3-3) at Tejeda Complex, 7 p.m. (score unavailable)

Thursday’s games

Non-district

Seguin Tournament

East Central (10-2) 13, El Paso Burges 0 (5 innings)

Bandera 5, Holy Cross (10-5) 3
Holy Cross (10-5) 12, Laredo Alexander 0 (3 innings) 
Navarro 3, South San (6-2-1) 1 
East Central (11-2) 9, Seguin 7
Friday’s games

District 28-4A

Brennan (10-3, 1-0) 9, Jefferson (4-5, 0-1) 8

Highlands (3-5-1, 1-0) 17, Burbank (2-8-1, 0-1) 2 (5 innings)

Edison (2-9, 1-0) 10, Lanier (4-6, 0-1) 0 (5 innings)

District 29-4A

Floresville (7-8, 1-0) 11, Kennedy (2-6, 0-1) 1  (5 innings)

Uvalde (7-5, 1-0) 17, Harlandale (6-7-1, 0-1) 4

McCollum (4-3, 1-0) 11, Southside (3-10, 0-1) 0 (5 innings)

Memorial (1-6, 0-0) at Medina Valley (11-1, 0-0), 7:15 p.m. (score unavailable)

Non-district

Providence (3-3) vs. Sam Houston (0-8) at Burbank, 5:30 p.m.  (score unavailable)

Brackenridge (8-3-1) at Carizzo Springs (1-1-1 ???), 6:30 p.m. (score unavailable)

Southwest (9-4) 12, Smithson Valley (11-2) 2 (5 innings)

Seguin Tournament

East Central (13-2) 17, New Braunfels (1-6 ???) 2 (5 innings)

East Central (13-2) 13, New Braunfels (3-6) 4 (6 innings)

Holy Cross (11-6) 11, El Paso Burges 0 (3 innings)

Devine (10-3) 9, Holy Cross (11-6) 0

El Paso Burges (???) 9, South San (6-5-1) 3

Uvalde (7-5) 13, South San (6-5-1) 0 (5 innings)

Saturday’s games

Non-district

Seguin Tourney

East Central (14-3) 12, Incarnate Word (4-5) 0

Holy Cross (13-6) 6, South San (7-6-1) 4

Holy Cross (13-6)  6, Navarro (9-4) 1

South San (7-6-1) 5,  La Vernia (9-9) 1

Judson (15-4) 7, East Central (14-3) 2.

BASEBALL: This week’s results (thru March 1)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Feb. 23-March 1

Monday’s results

Non-district

St. Anthony (5-3) 19, Memorial (0-4) 5 (5 innings)

Tuesday’s games

Non-district

Central Catholic (4-2) 3, Brennan (3-4) 1
New Braunfels (5-1) 13, Highlands (2-3) 0
Southside (2-4) 
4, Jefferson (1-4) 0
South San (5-2) 
10, Holy Cross (3-4) 1
Harlandale (3-3) 
7, Lanier (1-3) 2
McCollum (6-0) 10, Sam Houston (0-4) 1
Alamo Heights (6-1) 9, Burbank (2-3-1) 1

Edison (0-4) at Seguin (3-1), TBA (score unavailable)

Floresville (3-2) 15, Brackenridge (2-3) 14 (8 innings)

Thursday’s games

Non-district

Edgewood ISD Tournament

Memorial (1-5) 8, Edison (0-6)

Kennedy (3-2) 15, Sam Houston (0-5) 2 (4 innings)

Cole 10, Memorial (1-5) 3

Hays 11, Edison (0-6) 1 (5 innings)

Floresville Tournament

Holmes 4, Brackenridge (2-3) 1

OTHER AREA TEAMS – Lanier (1-3), Southside (2-4). 

Judson Tournament

Clemens 6, Jefferson (1-6) 

Central Catholic (6-2) 2, Hays 1 
Steele 15, Jefferson (1-6)  0 
Central Catholic (6-2) 11, Laredo United South 5 

Kerrville Tivy Tournament

AREA TEAMS – East Central (4-1). Finals – Saturday. (scores unavailable)

NEISD Tournament

Highlands (3-3) 3, Taft 2 
Clark 7, South San (5-3) 2  

New Braunfels Canyon Tournament

Austin St. Michael’s (???) 7, Burbank (2-4-1) 3

Southwest Tournament

Medina Valley 4, McCollum (6-1) 0
Uvalde 8, Harlandale (3-4) 2
Southwest (4-1-1) 2, Uvalde 2  

Friday’s games

Non-district

Edgewood ISD Tournament

Dilley (???) 19, Sam Houston (2-7) 0

Memorial (3-6) 11, Cole (2-7) 10
Sam Houston (2-7) 13, Memorial (3-6) 9
Memorial (3-6) 8, Edison (0-7) 4
Hays (5-1) 7, Kennedy (3-3) 1

Floresville Tournament

Brackenridge (3-3) 6, Lytle (1-2 ???) 3 

La Vernia (6-2) 17, Lanier (1-4) 1 (4 innings)
La Vernia (6-2) 13, Southside (2-5) 2 (6 innings)

Judson Tournament

Warren (7-3) 16, Central Catholic (7-3) 6 (4 innings)

Central Catholic (7-3) 13, Wagner (0-6) 5  

Bastrop (???) 15, Jefferson (1-8) 8

Judson (3-6) 10, Jefferson (1-8) 2

Kerrville Tivy Tournament

East Central (5-1) 3, Fredericksburg (???) 0

NEISD Tournament

South San (7-3) 4, Brandeis (2-7) 3 

Austin Bowie (???) 9, Highlands (3-5) 5
South San (7-3) 8, Roosevelt (2-4) 4
Churchill (6-3) 9, Highlands (3-5) 1

New Braunfels Canyon Tournament

Corpus Christi Calallen (???) 12, Burbank (2-5-1) 0 (4 innings).

Southwest Tournament

Brennan (5-4) 7, Southwest (5-2-1) 1

McCollum (8-2) 13, Harlandale (3-6) 6

Southwest (5-2-1) 4, Harlandale (3-6) 1

Jay (1-6) 4, McCollum (8-2) 3

McCollum (8-2) 8, Stevens (1-9) 0

Saturday’s games

Non-district

Edgewood ISD Tournament

St. Anthony (8-4) 5, Kennedy (4-4) 1

Kennedy (4-4) 4, Dilley (2-2 ???) 1

St. Anthony (8-4) 14, Memorial (3-7) 8

Floresville Tournament

Lanier (3-5) 11, Lytle (1-5 ???) 8

Southside (3-5) 7, Brackenridge (3-4) 6

Judson Tournament

Judson (3-6) 15, Central Catholic (7-4) 5

Kerrville Tivy Tournament

AREA TEAMS – East Central (5-1). Finals – Saturday. (scores unavailable)

NEISD Tournament

Highlands (4-6) 9, Roosevelt (2-6-1) 7

Clark (6-6) 5, South San (7-5) 1

Taft (2-7-1) 7, Highlands (4-6) 6

Austin Bowie (???) 4, South San (7-5) 2

New Braunfels Canyon Tournament

AREA TEAMS – Burbank (2-5-1). Finals – Saturday. (scores unavailable)

BOYS BASKETBALL: Foul shooting enables Dripping Springs to hold off Edison

Tigers make 20 of 25 free throws in fourth quarter

A thriller devolved into a horror movie for Edison as the fourth quarter progressed last Friday at Canyon Lake High School.

Edison, which finished with a 24-11 record, trailed Dripping Springs (24-11) by two points with little more than three minutes remaining in the Class 4A area-round game. The Tigers then embarked on a seemingly uninterrupted parade to the foul line, somewhat due to the Golden Bears hopes to extend the game and improve its chances for advancement.

Unfortunately for Edison, Dripping Springs sank 20 of 25 free throws in the fourth quarter to eliminate the Golden Bears 54-44. Three Edison players fouled out in the fourth quarter and another drew his fourth foul.

“We just fell short,” Edison coach Art Vela said. “They’re very long and very conservative on defense. We tried to spread them out and break them down to get to the basket. We got some open looks, but we didn’t knock down too many.”

The Golden Bears were within 40-38 with 3:03 left in the physical game when senior point guard Justin Torres (20 points, 12 rebounds) made a short jumper off a spin move.

Torres had kept Edison close with nine points in the third quarter.

“Justin has been our foundation,” Vela said. “He’s really improved this year. Everything you saw today was something he’s been doing for us all year. He’s a lockdown defender and he runs our offense. He always gives great effort. He’s done a great job for us.”

The Tigers scored the next nine points, scoring seven from the free-throw stripe. Six-foot-7 Patrick Bullock (11 points, 16 rebounds) made five of the attempts.

“We’re a very mature team,” Dripping Springs coach Craig Swannack said. “In the fourth quarter, our seniors really took the lead.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is making our free throws in the fourth quarter. That’s something I was really happy with.”

Edison didn’t score again until 39 seconds remained, when Angelo Leyvani nailed a three-point basket from the top of the key. Dripping Springs led 49-43.

Bullock and defensive standout A.J. Huff each made two free throws and Brogan Lynch made one to cement the Tigers’ win. A free throw from senior post Andy Castro with 11.3 seconds to play counted as the Golden Bears’ final point in the 2013-14 season.

Edison led 18-14 with 3:23 remaining in the first half after Lorenzo Vela, the coach’s son, was fouled on a three-pointer and made two free throws. It was the third time the Golden Bears had increased their lead to four points.

The Tigers scored the next 12 points, including the first six in the second half. Their lead reached 10 points when Torres scored nine-consecutive Edison points. He converted a steal into a layup to bring the Golden Bears within 32-31 when the third quarter ended.

“Our kids, they give 100 percent,” Vela said. “In the third quarter, there was a period when it looked like they were going to give up. But one or two kids stepped up and, suddenly, we were right back in the ballgame.”

Dripping Springs ended the game on a 14-6 run. Guards Blake Chiuminetta and Bryce Hegemier each scored 13 points for the Tigers. Combined, they made nine of 10 free throws in the fourth.

“They all did a good job,” Vela said of his players. “That’s a heck of a team.”

Lorenzo Vela finished with nine points and four rebounds. However, he never found his shooting touch against tight defense from Huff.

“One of the things we told him was that he had to stay on Vela’s left,” Swannack said. “He did that very well.”

Castro and Jared Zapata claimed seven rebounds apiece, as Edison had a 37-36 rebounding advantage against the taller Tigers.

“One of the things we talked about was winning the rebounding battle in the second half – and it was a scrum,” Swannack said. “We challenged (the kids) to get every single rebound. We didn’t get every single one, but we got almost all the important ones.”

Edison had opened some eyes with a 61-56 win over Alamo Heights (28-5) Tuesday in the bi-district round. The Mules, who recently lost 6-9 Georgia Tech signee Ben Lammers to a season-ending injury, were ranked No. 18 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state rankings.

Torres led the Golden Bears with 21 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Lorenzo Vela scored 18 points, making three 3-point shots, and added four rebounds, four steals and four assists. Edson Salazar and Zapata each scored eight.

“We had a lot of motivation, because we neighbor each other,” Vela said. “Their school district boundary borders on ours. But we come from two different circumstances. The guys were really hungry to beat Alamo Heights, because they ended our season last year.

“Even without Lammers, they’re still a good team. We spread them out and got to the basket. In the second half, they switched (defenses) and they hit a lot of shots, but we made our free throws to hold them off.”

The Golden Bears will lose Torres, Castro, Salazar, Tony Alvarado and Justin Rodriguez to graduation from the playing rotation.

“What I love abour our team is that they’re a big family and that they’ve bonded together,” Vela said. “They’ve stuck together and worked together. They’ve done everything I’ve asked. They’d run through a wall for me if I asked them to.”

The prospective returnees are led by Lorenzo Vela and Zapata, both of whom made big strides this season. The Edison coach pointed out that his team won’t be as tall without the 6-6 Castro and 6-4 Alvarado.

“We’ll have our JV kids, and we’ll have Lorenzo and Jared back,” Vela said. “We’re losing everybody else, but I think those two kids will be our leaders and they’ll set the tone for the others. The JV had a lot of guys who were workhorses.

“We’ll be a lot smaller, but we’ll make some adjustments and, hopefully, we’ll be back in the mix next year.”

 

BOYS BASKETBALL: Curtain comes down on Bernal’s Lanier career

Hays makes last 12 free throws, defeats Voks 60-52

Photos taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit: http://kjtoso.photoshelter.com

 

Lanier coach Rudy Bernal enjoys a light moment against Jefferson earlier in  his final Voks season.
Lanier coach Rudy Bernal enjoys a light moment against Jefferson earlier in his final Voks season.
Lanier's Louis Garza (left) applies trademark Voks defensive pressure against Jefferson's Anthony Friere.
Lanier’s Louis Garza (left) applies trademark Voks defensive pressure against Jefferson’s Anthony Friere.

There’s no way to know how many wins first-year Hays coach Robert Lucero will accumulate in his career, but there was a feeling that a torch was being passed Feb. 18 in New Braunfels.

With the New Braunfels High gym packed from the floor to last row of bleachers – predominately with Lanier fans — Voks coach Rudy Bernal watched his time at the west-side school expire. Lucero and his Rebels (21-9) made the shots when they counted for a 60-52 bi-district victory.

“They’re extremely patient and poised,” Bernal said. “We tried to hit them with our pressure early to try to offset their size, but they did a good job of handling our traps.”

Bernal finished the Lanier phase of his coaching career with a 568-443 record. This year’s Voks produced a 25-9 mark.

It was a Voks team that had to work harder to score than it’s immediate predecessors, who were adroit from the three-point line. That absence was felt throughout the Class 4A bi-district game. Lanier missed three field-goal attempts in a row before 6-foot-4 freshman Isaiah Vargas (8 points, 7 rebounds) scored with .5 seconds on the clock.

By that point, the Rebels had finished making their last 12 foul shots.

“Lanier always plays with a lot of heart and is very physical,” Lucero said. “For us, we had to try to make each possession count. We tried to use our height and length inside, but they play so hard they sometimes negate it. We also wanted to keep their guards under control.”

Hays twice built six-point leads in the first half, but Lanier stayed in striking range.

The poised Rebels tied the score 40-40 as the third quarter ended. The Voks then surged ahead, scoring six of the next eight points with help from senior point guard Louis Garza’s jumper off the dribble and a three-pointer Carlos Gutierrez hit from the left wing.

Hays took a 48-45 lead, but sophomore Raul Solis (11 points) connected on his third 3-pointer and swished a 15-foot jumper for a two-point Voks advantage with 3:05 remaining.

“He did a great job,” Bernal said. “He kept us in the game. Raul made 3 threes and a couple inside shots. He was definitely valuable today. He played JV most of the season, but then we lost a couple of kids.”

The next 12 points belonged to Hays.

Hayden Cagle (9 points, 11 rebounds), a 6-8 post, tied it 50-50 with a pair of free throws. A rebound basket from 6-4 forward Heath Agnew put the Rebels ahead to stay. Stephen Ayala, Alec Mozee, Cagle and senior leader Jacob Rodriguez (12 points, 4 assists, 3 steals) each made two free throws down the stretch.

“We lost a tough game earlier this year to Boerne Champion,” Lucero said. “The guys learned from that loss and have done well in close games since then. Jacob is such a great leader and a great shooter. At the end of the game, we want him to have the ball.”

Adding to the Voks’ frustration in trying to buy their coach at least a few more days was the fact that they were missing close range shots they typically make.

“Overall, I felt the kids did a good job,” Bernal said. “They wanted to do well. We don’t have the scorers we had last year. I think they wanted to win so badly, they tried to do too much.

“But we still had an opportunity to win the game at the end.”

Lanier senior wing Ajax Reyes ended his career with 11 points and five assists.

“I’m proud of past years,” Reyes said, the sting of the loss still fresh. “This year really hurts. It’s my last year, and I wanted it to be my best year. I didn’t want it to end like this.”

The 5-4 Garza scored 10 to go with six rebounds and three steals. Classmate Rodrigo Garcia battled foul trouble to post five points and four steals.

“It has been amazing,” Reyes said of playing for Bernal. “He’s definitely the best coach I’ve ever been taught by. I really like him as a coach and a person.

“If I ever need anything, I know I can come back to him and he’ll be there for me.”

Bernal, who is retiring as a Lanier teacher at the end of the school year, plans to continue his coaching career at a private school. He stressed that he would not elect to coach at a school where he might be recruiting athletes who would otherwise play for the Voks.

“It has been a fun 31 years,” he said. “It’s difficult to end on a game like this but, unless you win a state championship, you’re going to go out on a loss.

“The kids put their hearts on the floor and played with a passion that not a lot of players possess.”

That’s precisely why opponents have feared Bernal-coached Lanier teams for more than three decades.

BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Central Catholic finishes one game shy of state finals

Sam Houston breezes to quarterfinals; Harlandale snares OT win in bi-district round

Photo taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit: http://kjtoso.photoshelter.com

Senior guard George Rodriguez helped Harlandale pull out an overtime win against Victoria East.
Senior guard George Rodriguez helped Harlandale pull out an overtime win against Victoria East.
Highlands' JerMichael Shirley scored nine points against Clemens.
Highlands’ JerMichael Shirley scored nine points against Clemens.
South San senior Eric Alcozer competed in the Bobcats' bi-district game against  Brandeis.
South San senior Eric Alcozer competed in the Bobcats’ bi-district game against Brandeis.

TEAMS INCLUDEDCentral Catholic, Harlandale, Highlands, McCollum, Memorial, South San, Sam Houston.

When Central Catholic was 3-6, some observers must have doubted that this year’s Buttons would finish their season on the doorstep of the TAPPS Class 5A state finals.

Once the senior-dominated Buttons (25-8) jelled, they were pretty close to unstoppable. Central Catholic won 22 of its last 24 games to end their season Saturday as one of the state’s top eight teams.

The Buttons, No. 7 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Large Private School state rankings, lost 58-54 to No. 2 Plano John Paul II Saturday afternoon at A&M Consolidated High School in College Station.

Central Catholic trailed the state quarterfinal game just 14-10 after one quarter. John Paul (25-6) maintained the margin and led 25-21 at halftime.

The Buttons advanced with a 67-51 win over Argyle Liberty Christian (12-21) in the area round Friday at A&M Consolidated.

Central Catholic established a 19-13 first-quarter lead against the Warriors. By halftime, the Buttons had extended their lead to 35-22. They led 51-35 entering the final quarter.

Individual statistics for Central Catholic from both games were unavailable.

Sam Houston 76, Wimberley 44

Sam Houston 82, La Grange 63

The Hurricanes (24-9) roared into postseason play, cruising to a pair of convincing victories in the opening week.

Sam Houston, No. 6 in the TABC Class 3A poll, advanced to play No. 24 Fredericksburg (28-8) in the Region IV quarterfinals. If the Hurricanes win, they’ll advance to the Class 3A region finals for the fourth-consecutive year.

Senior Jordon Harris led the Hurricanes with 20 points in the bi-district win over Wimberley (10-21) at Canyon Lake. Sophomore Robert Christian supplied 18 points.

At Luling in the area round, Harris again led the way with 24 points against La Grange (19-12). Raymonte Prime added 13 points. Devin Allen and freshman Jawon Anderson each scored 12.

Harlandale 68, Victoria East 66 (OT)

Corpus Christi Flour Bluff 76, Harlandale 67

Harlandale (23-12) began the postseason with an upset win Tuesday over District 30-4A co-champion Victoria East (19-14), but the Indians’ run ended with an area-round game Friday against Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in Three Rivers.

In the bi-district game at Gonzales, senior Armando Guerrero gave Harlandale a 67-66 lead on a three-point shot with 11 seconds left in overtime. The Indians secured the win from the foul line.

Victoria East’s Datryan Evans scored the first four points in the extra session before the Indians rallied. The game was tied 60-60 at the end of regulation.

The Indians were tied 29-29 at halftime, but the Titans led 58-49 with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Harlandale senior Ram Torres mustered a team-best 24 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Ramon sank eight free throws and scored 20 points. Ramon also recorded 14 rebounds, eight steals and five assists.

Jose Salinas scored nine points on three 3-point baskets. Senior guard Jacob Martinez contributed five steals and four assists. Junior Tommy Vital added three steals.

Against Flour Bluff (19-12), the Indians trailed 36-23 at halftime and 60-37 after three quarters.

Cody Brewer scored 24 points for the Hornets. Harlandale individual statistics were unavailable from the game.

Victoria West 59, McCollum 57

McCollum (22-11) had a five-point lead at several stages of the fourth quarter Tuesday in Gonzales. In the final half-minute, however, the Warriors (21-12) claimed the Class 4A bi-district win.

The Cowboys were tied 55-55 on a three-pointer from sophomore Tre Johnson with about 55 seconds to play, answering a three-pointer from the Warriors’ Victor Simmons. McCollum re-tied it 57-57 with 29 seconds left. Victoria West responded with the game-winning shot from Chris Erskine (17 points) in the closing seconds.

Cowboys led 14-13 as the first quarter ended and 29-26 at halftime. McCollum took a one-point lead into the final quarter.

McCollum individual statistics were unavailable

Corpus Christi Calallen 70, Memorial 58

The Wildcats (20-10) opened a 14-8 first-quarter lead and held off a determined effort from Memorial thereafter in a Class 4A bi-district game Tuesday at Edgewood Gym. The Minutemen (11-19) were making their first postseason appearance in five years.

Memorial closed within 29-26 at halftime and trailed just 41-37 entering the fourth quarter. Calallen scored 29 points in the final period.

Steven Weaver led Calallen with 24 points. Individual statistics for Memorial were not available.

Clemens 91, Highlands 73

The host Buffaloes (29-4), No. 11 in the TABC Class 4A poll, overwhelmed Highlands (16-16) in the second half of a bi-district game Tuesday in Schertz.

The Owls led the District 27-4A champions 20-18 at the end of the first quarter. Highlands was within 45-40 at halftime. Clemens raced to 38 third-quarter points for a commanding win.

Sophomore Joseph Jackson was Highlands’ top scorer with 16 points. Anthony Garza scored 13 points. Christopher Hartfield (11 points) and Jamaria Moody (10 points) also scored in double figures. JerMichael Shirley scored nine.

Cayne Edwards scored 24 points for Clemens.

Brandeis 65, South San 33

The Broncos (20-7) bolted to a 16-4 but couldn’t put the Class 5A bi-district game out of reach until the second half.

The Bobcats (15-17) fought back to within 24-20 at halftime Tuesday at the Bill Greehey Arena on the St. Mary’s University campus. Brandeis outscored South San 16-5 in the third quarter.

South San individual statistics were unavailable.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Area playoff schedule/results (thru March 1)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Feb. 24-March 1

Friday’s games

CLASS 5A

Regional quarterfinals

Madison (27-6) 64, East Central (25-9) 58

CLASS 3A

Regional quarterfinals

Sam Houston (25-9) 66, Fredericksburg (28-9) 50

Friday’s games

CLASS 3A

Region IV semifinals

Sam Houston (26-9) 63, Hidalgo (30-9) 42

Saturday’s games

CLASS 3A

Region IV finals

Sam Houston (27-9) 72, Corpus Christi West Oso (23-6) 46