GIRLS BASKETBALL: Cardinals take place among 29-4A leaders with win over Uvalde

Southside rides 17-1 run to third place in district


It’s rare for a team to invade the District 29-4A throne room reserved for Floresville, Harlandale and Medina Valley, but that’s what Southside has accomplished so far this season.

The Cardinals (15-13, 7-4) took over third place in 29-4A with a 62-44 victory over Uvalde (8-16, 2-9) last Saturday evening at Southside. The win, coupled with Harlandale’s 56-53 loss to Floresville earlier in the day, broke a tie that the Cardinals had forged with a 68-43 over Memorial (5-22, 1-9) Jan. 21.

“We just needed to take care of business,” Southside senior Desiree Rodriguez said. “For the most part, we’ve been doing it this year.”

Seventh-place Uvalde defeated Southside Dec. 30 and was within 41-39 with 2:14 left in the third quarter. The Cardinals forced 11 turnovers and scored the last seven points in the quarter. That spurt grew into a game-deciding 17-1 run.

Southside had a double-digit advantage over the Coyotes in the turnover department.

“That’s what really helps us out,” said Southside senior Sabrina Guzman, who scored six of her 14 points in the second quarter. “Defense is king.”

Although missed close-range shots held the Cardinals back in the first half, they were generating turnovers and getting out in transition from the game’s early stages.

Their lead reached 12-7 in the first quarter when Guzman took a defensive rebound the length of the court for a layup.

Uvalde closed to 13-12 on a three-point basket from Ally Ortiz (15 points) just 11 seconds into the second quarter. The Coyotes tied the score three times in the quarter. Ortiz produced 10 points and guard Kim Chapa (13 points) added another six.

After the first two minutes, Southside lost the lead only briefly. Ortiz made another three-pointer, followed by a fast-break layup. A driving basket from Chapa gave Uvalde a 25-21 edge with 2:19 until halftime.

“We made a few adjustments in the second half,” Southside coach Dolores Sulaica said. “We were getting pressure on their main scorers and just being disciplined defensively.”

Sendejo put back a rebound and Guzman nailed two free throws that tied the score at 25-25. Substitute post Stephanie Quintero responded to a Coyotes score with another rebound basket and a free throw, which put Southside ahead 28-27.

“It’s like a weight lifted off our shoulders,” Guzman said of production from Southside’s front court. “When they step up, they do a really good job. It’s really good when they do their job.”

Rodriguez added, “Before, we were just getting scoring from one or two players. Now everybody on the team has been contributing.”

Guzman knocked down two more free throws and made the halftime score 30-27 in Southside’s favor.

“Once I saw we were struggling, I knew I had to step up,” Guzman said. “As point guard, that was something I needed to do to help my team.”

Rodriguez followed her own missed shot to score a rebound basket that started the Cardinals’ big run. She also contributed a jumper from the left corner off an assist from Guzman with 40.8 seconds left in the third quarter. A free throw from sophomore wing Mayra Sendejo (15 points) increased the lead to 48-39 as the quarter ended.

Kimberly Robles came off the bench to claim two offensive rebounds that extended a possession. Robles scored on the second and increased the Cardinals’ lead to 52-39 with 6:15 remaining.

“She’s getting a lot more comfortable,” Sulaica said. “When you put her in, she’s not shy.”

Quintero, Robles and Kat Mancha each made key contributions up front for the perimeter-oriented Cardinals.

“The subs don’t have to score a ton of points,” Sulaica said, “as long as they score quality points or get defensive stops. At the beginning of the year, I think my seniors felt like they had to do it all.”

Sendejo netted four consecutive points and Mancha scored on an offensive rebound for a 58-40 lead with 3:11 left.

“They came ready to go,” Sulaica said of her team. “We started off a little slow but, luckily, we put it all together.

“They’re a great group. They get along on and off the court. They’re very unselfish.”

Southside will play at Medina Valley Tuesday and play host to Kennedy Friday (both 6:30 p.m.). They’ll finish the season Feb. 4 at Harlandale, whom the Cardinals defeated in the first round of district play.

“We still have three tough games left,” Sulaica cautioned.

In addition to the four teams listed above, Kennedy and McCollum both have a chance to qualify for the playoffs. After Saturday, though, it appears more and more that the Cardinals are on the fast track to the postseason in one of the area’s most competitive districts.

Having won five of its last six games, Southside is even winning over the skeptics.

“I expected a lot, because of our offseason program. Everyone participated in the whole program,” Rodriguez said. “Last year, we were so close to the playoffs. I thought (the season) would go well for us.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: Sam Houston avoids distractions, romps past Poteet

Senior Seals makes welcome contribution for Hurricanes


Sam Houston had a couple of reasons to have a letdown Saturday in Poteet.

First, the game was one of 11 in the area to be postponed from Friday to Saturday because of icy weather. The unusual Saturday morning start time was a built-in excuse, if the Hurricanes chose to use it.

Second, the first-place Hurricanes weren’t expected to encounter much resistance from the Pirates.

Sam Houston didn’t entertain any thoughts of a letdown, powering past Poteet 86-28.

Hurricanes coach Ike Thornton and his staff typically come up with objectives for games the team might have a difficult time getting motivated for. Although Sam Houston’s players didn’t achieve a perfect score, they received a high passing grade.

“When we play Poteet – especially there – it’s usually one of those games the kids can get distracted,” Thornton said. “But I’m pretty happy. They stayed engaged the whole time.

“It was a good game all-around.”

The objectives were based on maintaining high energy and making plays indicative of hustle.

“The number of offensive rebounds, the number of deflections and the number of charges taken,” Thornton said, “were areas we were monitoring. Hustle stats are what we were trying to keep an eye on. We just try to make sure we are playing with a purpose.”

Sam Houston held the Pirates to 10 points or fewer in each quarter. The Hurricanes led 22-5 in the first quarter and 47-11 at halftime.

Jordon Harris led Sam Houston with 16 points. Devin Allen scored 15 and senior Brandon Seals had 14 points in his second-straight start in place of promising sophomore Robert Christian.

“Brandon shot the ball well, and that’s something we’re going to need from him down the stretch,” Thornton said. “Brandon stepped up and played some more minutes. We were hoping to get him going.”

Allen also was in double digits in rebounding.

“Devin was active,” Thornton said. “We know he had at least eight offensive rebounds. That was something we wanted to get out of him, more rebounds.”

BOYS BASKETBALL WEEKEND REPORT: Indians hand Floresville first District 29-4A loss

Southwest defeats 2012 state finalist Steele; Central Catholic downs rival for 17th straight

TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank, Central Catholic, East Central, Edison, Fox Tech, Harlandale, Highlands, Lanier, McCollum, Memorial, South San, Southwest.

Photos taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit:

Jacob Martinez (24) contributed to Harlandale's win over Floresville.
Jacob Martinez (24) contributed to Harlandale’s win over Floresville.

The host Indians (18-10, 7-2) were tied with Floresville after three quarters Saturday at Harlandale, but that changed in the next three minutes.

Harlandale scored 12 unanswered points in that timeframe to spurt ahead and gave itself a lead it never relinquished for an 83-77 win. Each of the four baskets was a three-pointer. Jose Salinas (9 points) sank two while Ram Torres (15 points) and Mando Guerrero (14 points) found the target on one apiece.

It was the first District 29-4A loss for first-place Floresville (12-12, 8-1). Harlandale and McCollum, which defeated Memorial Saturday, share second place.

Floresville closed to 77-75 in the final minute on a pair of free throws from junior Chris Albert (18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocked shots). Two free throws from Torres and a basket from Jesus Maltos (12 points) lifted the Indians out of harm’s way.

The Indians had spurted to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter behind three-pointers from Guerrero and Torres, but the Tigers closed to 29-25 by the quarter’s end, giving an indication of the barnburner to come.

Harlandale never trailed, but never led by more than seven before its fourth-quarter shooting flurry.

Joshua Rodriguez was one of four Harlandale players in double figures with 11 points. Estevan Mendiola scored a game-high 21 points for Floresville.

Southwest 77, Steele 73

The Dragons (8-19, 2-3) battled for a four-point victory over Steele, which reached the Class 5A state quarterfinals last year, Saturday at Southwest. The win moved Southwest into a fourth-place tie with South San (12-14, 2-3).

Southwest had a 32-31 halftime lead and took charge with a 29-point third quarter. The Knights (13-13, 3-2) outscored the Dragons 22-16 in the fourth quarter.

Dragons coach David Brawner said the key to victory for his team was its perseverance and never-quit attitude.

Senior guard Brian Perez led Southwest with 21 points. Junior Aaron Embry supplied 19 points. Devanta Hayes chipped in with 15 points. Latrel Grant scored eight.

Edison 49, Highlands 46

The Golden Bears (18-10, 7-2) broke a second-place tie in District 28-4A Saturday, edging Highlands (12-10, 6-3) at Alamo Convocation Center.

The Owls  led 26-23 at halftime. Edison outscored Highlands 11-10 in the third quarter and 15-10 in the fourth.

The Golden Bears received 13 points and four rebounds from senior guard Justin Torres, who made six of seven free throws. Jared Zapata added 10 points and five rebounds. Justin Rodriguez scored nine.  Lorenzo Vela finished with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

For Highlands, Demarcus Hartfield had a team-best 19 points.

Central Catholic 50, Antonian 34

The pendulum swing back toward the Buttons (20-6, 2-0) in the Central Catholic-Antonian rivalry. Central Catholic also won their first meeting in 2012-13 and the Apaches won the re-match.

Central Catholic extended its impressive winning streak to 17 games in the TAPPS District 2-5A contest at St. Mary’s University’s Bill Greehey Arena.

Antonian (23-10, 1-1) was within 18-15 after a quarter and 24-19 at halftime. The Buttons, No. 7 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Large Private School state poll, added 12 points to their lead in the third quarter for the commanding victory.

Senior post Daniel Kellum, whose father also played for the Buttons, had a team-high 18 points. Fellow big man Tony Lewis battled foul trouble to score 10 points.

Central Catholic plays host to St. Anthony (17-9, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in a 2-5A game.

East Central 97, Corpus Christi King 64

The Hornets (16-7, 2-0) ran the area’s second-longest winning streak to eight games Friday and remained undefeated in District 28-5A Friday at East Central.

First-place East Central made a serious run at the century mark against Corpus Christi King (0-5 in district), rolling to a 53-30 halftime lead. The final total was a season-high scoring output for the Hornets.

Junior wing Brandon Keno had a breakout game for East Central, scoring 22 points. Senior Dylan Guerrero (15 points), Ethan White (12) and Albert Jimenez (11) also scored in double figures. Patrick Hamilton and Brandon McClure each contributed eight points.

McCollum 77, Memorial 68 (OT)

These District 29-4A teams went to overtime for the second time this season.

Just as they had in their first meeting Dec. 29,  the Cowboys (17-10, 7-2) prevailed Saturday at Edgewood Gym. This time, McCollum outscored hard-luck Memorial (9-27, 4-5) 16-7 in overtime.

It was the third overtime loss in district play for the young Minutemen.

The Minutemen were prepared for the contest, forging an 18-11 lead in the first quarter. McCollum gained the upper hand by outscoring the Minutemen 23-4 in the second quarter. Memorial scored 39 second-half points to overcome the 12-point halftime deficit.

Senior guard Nathan Martinez scored a career-high 30 points for the Cowboys. Angel Loera added 17 points and Tre Johnson contributed 15. Cosmo Cantu and Joey Villarreal each scored 15.

The 1-2 punch of senior Joe Aguilar (26 points) and junior Bryan Obregon (20 points) came through for Memorial. Joseph Aguillen provided 10 points and Albert Machado had eight. 


GIRLS BASKETBALL WEEKEND REPORT: Edison fends off scrappy Jefferson for 28-4A win

Sam Houston bounces back for easy win in 28-3A

TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank, Edison, Harlandale, Highlands, Holy Cross, Jefferson, Lanier, McCollum, Memorial, Sam Houston,Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Two of the scrappier teams in District 28-4A collided Friday at Alamo Convocation Center, with Edison (12-16, 6-7) earning a hard-fought win over Jefferson.

Jefferson (10-14, 5-8) outscored Edison 20-7 in the second quarter to take a 27-23 halftime lead. The Golden Bears pulled ahead 35-33 in the third quarter and held on for the victory. They won 43-39.

Marisa Salas led Edison with 20 points, four steals and three assists. Rachel Campos added 15 points and three steals. Amy Marcos finished with nine rebounds and Paula Moreno had eight.

Adriana Aguinaga scored 16 points for the Mustangs. Angela Hardcastle put in nine points and Sasha Barrientos contributed eight.

Sam Houston 58, Poteet 27

The Hurricanes (7-17, 5-2) bounced back from a loss to first-place La Vernia Tuesday to trounce Poteet (5-22, 2-5) Saturday in Poteet.

Sam Houston established a 15-5 lead in the first quarter and were ahead 32-9 at the half.

Dajah Thomas led the Hurricanes with 14 points. Dominique Green contributed 12 points. Dominique Green scored eight.

McCollum 42, Memorial 32

The fourth-place Cowboys (9-16, 5-6) established a 20-7 halftime lead Saturday for a District 29-4A win over Memorial (4-24, 0-11) at McCollum.

Senior Emilee Almazan was McCollum’s scoring leader with 18 points. Aileen Alonzo chipped in with 11 points. Elva Rios also was in double figures with 10 points.

Sophomore Larrisa Lopez led the Minutemen with 15 points. Lucinda Mireles scored eight.

Burbank 49, Fox Tech 23

The Bulldogs (6-21, 3-10) outscored Fox Tech (5-20, 2-10) in each quarter Friday in a District 28-4A  at Lanier.

Senior Alejandra Martinez led Burbank with 16 points. Freshman Cory Sepulveda added eight points.

Ashwini Bhakta led the Buffaloes with 11 points.

Highlands 69, YWLA 27

The Owls (21-11, 10-4) defeated Young Women’s Leadership Academy (1-23, 0-13) in a District 28-4A game Saturday at Alamo Convocation Center.

Sophomore Jazmine Jackson led Highlands with 16 points. Aaliyah Prince provided 15 points. Kiara Pesina scored 10 points. Jessica Herrera added eight points.

The Cardinals received seven points apiece from Azel Garza and Clarissa Castro.


GIRLS BASKETBALL MID-WEEK REPORT: Brackenridge comeback nets win over Highlands

Southside blasts Memorial, ties for third in 29-4A

TEAMS INCLUDED:Brackenridge, East Central, Edison, Fox Tech, Highlands, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lanier, Memorial, Providence, Sam Houston, South San, Southside, Southwest.

Photos taken by KJ Toso. To view more photos or to purchase photos, please visit:

Providence freshman Gabriele Mitchell scored a game-high 15 points against Antonian.
Providence freshman Gabriele Mitchell scored a game-high 15 points against Antonian.
Providence freshman Gabby Gutierrez battles an Antonian defender for possession.
Providence freshman Gabby Gutierrez battles an Antonian defender for possession.
Providence freshman Christiana Howell (11) gets rebounding position against Antonian's Jazmin Howard (23).
Providence freshman Christiana Howell (11) gets rebounding position against Antonian’s Jazmin Howard (23).

Highlands made second-place Brackenridge (22-5, 11-1) work hard for its fourth-consecutive District 28-4A victory Wednesday at Alamo Convocation Center.

The third-place Owls (20-11, 9-4) overcame a 12-7 first-quarter deficit to lead 29-25 at the half. The Eagles led 43-42 after the third quarter. Brack prevailed over Highlands 58-56.

Senior Miranda Acuna led Brackenridge with 18 points. Backcourt partner Breeann Hernandez added 14  points. Up front, Skyler Reyna scored 10 points and Tevis Thomas finished with eight.

Sophomore Aaliyah Prince (10 rebounds) once again was Highlands’ leading scorer with 19 points, but she had support from classmate Jazmine Jackson (16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocked shots). Prince made three 3-point shots.

Kiara Pesina scored nine points and cleared four rebounds. Emily Pearce contributed five rebounds and four steals to go with seven points.

Southside 66, Memorial 43

The Cardinals (14-13, 6-4) achieved a tie for third place with Harlandale with this District 29-4A win Tuesday at Memorial.

Southside limited the Minutemen (4-23, 0-10) to 14 first-half points while establishing a 17-point lead.

Senior leader Sabrina Guzman produced 20 points for the Cardinals. Mayra Sendejo (14 points) and Kimberly Robles (10) also scored in double figures for Southside. Katherine Mancha added nine points.

Sophomore Larissa Lopez scored well over half of Memorial’s points. She finished with 28.

Lanier 33, Edison 29

The fourth-place Voks (13-14, 9-4) outscored fifth-place Edison  (11-16, 5-7) 8-4 in the first quarter and led at the end of each quarter, although the score remained close Wednesday at Alamo Convocation Center for a District 28-4A win.

The Golden Bears were within 24-23 when the fourth quarter started.

Lanier received a team-high 13 points from Sabrina Cortinas. Ashley Lopez scored 10 points.

Junior Amy Marcos led Edison with 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Marisa Salas was the Golden Bears’ top scorer with 16 points. Senior Paula Moreno added nine points.

East Central 53, South San 46

The Hornets (10-15, 3-3) fortified their hold on fourth place in District 28-5A Tuesday at the Bonewitz Center.

East Central led fifth-place South San (10-17, 1-5) 25-19 at halftime. The Bobcats closed to 36-31 by the end of the third quarter.

The Hornets received 15 points from freshman Brittany Rodgers. Senior Na’Kia Reid added 10 points. Ariel Allen scored nine.

Senior Kim Tobias led South San with 17 points. Desiree Orta and Serina Martintez each scored seven points.

Antonian 41, Providence 32

The Apaches (21-8, 6-0) had their hands full with an inspired Providence (2-18, 1-3) team Tuesday in a TAPPS 2-5A game at the Pro-Vets’ gym.

Antonian led 23-18 at halftime and held the five-point lead heading into the final quarter.

Freshman Gabriele Mitchell led the Pro-Vets with 15 points. Mitchell was the only Providence player in double figures. Esther Knodell was next in the scoring column with five points.


BOYS BASKETBALL MID-WEEK REPORT: Buttons begin district play with 16th-straight win

Lanier gets revenge on Edison with overtime victory

TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank, Central Catholic, Edison, Fox Tech, Harlandale, Highlands, Jefferson, Lanier, McCollum, Memorial, Sam Houston, Southside.

Central Catholic (19-6), No. 7 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Large Private School state poll, crunched Austin St. Michael’s 79-32 Wednesday in Austin to record their 16th-consecutive victory.

Tony Lewis led the Buttons with 15 points in their District 2-5A opener. Daniel Kellum added 14 points. Chad Plummer scored 11. P.J. Escobar contributed nine points.

Lanier 45, Edison 44 (OT)

The Voks (19-7, 5-3) outscored Edison (17-10, 6-2) 6-5 in overtime to claim a District 28-4A win Wednesday at the Alamo Convocation Center.

Lanier led 26-23 at halftime. The Golden Bears fought back to take a 30-28 lead at the end of three quarters. It was 41-41 at the end of regulation.

Senior point guard Louis Garza was Lanier’s only double-figure scorer with 14 points. Ajax Reyes, Chris Salazar and Isaiah Vargas each scored seven points.

Junior guard Lorenzo Vela led Edison with 18 points. Senior post Andy Castro scored nine points.

The Golden Bears had defeated Lanier 59-56 in overtime Dec. 20.

Harlandale 89, Medina Valley 52

The Indians (17-11, 6-2) hammered Medina Valley (12-14, 3-5) early and often Tuesday at Harlandale.

Harlandale outscored the Panthers 31-13 in the first quarter and 59-28 in the opening half.

Senior Brandon Ramon led Harlandale with one of the best games in his four-year varsity career. Ramon recorded 24 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Ram Torres scored 18 points with two three-point baskets. Jesus Maltos made four 3-pointers to finish with 14 points and five rebounds. Jose Salinas sank three 3-pointers for 11 points and dealt three assists. Mando Guerrero supplied 10 points and three steals. Senior Jacob Martinez led Harlandale with nine steals. He also contributed nine points, six rebounds and three assists.

Highlands 57, Burbank 55

The Owls (12-9, 6-2) skated past Burbank (12-15, 3-6) to set up a second-place showdown with Edison. Highlands had to outscore the Bulldogs 20-12 in the final quarter to pull out the District 28-4A victory Wednesday at Lanier.

Highlands built a 17-9 lead in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs forged a 29-29 tie at halftime. Burbank surged into the lead in third, outscoring the Owls 14-8 over the eight-minute span.

Demarcus Hartfield led the Owls with 17 points. Samuel Jackson and Jamaria Moody each contributed nine points.

Burbank received a career-high 28 points from Michael Mascorro (9 rebounds, 4 assists). Moses Montalvo scored nine points with nine rebounds and four assists. Alonzo Ortega grabbed five rebounds.

Highlands will play Edison 1 p.m. Saturday at the Alamo Convocation Center. 


GIRLS BASKETBALL: Providence vs. Antonian photo gallery, Jan. 22, 2014 (photos by KJ Toso)

Photos taken by KJ Toso. For more photos or to purchase photos, please visit:

Providence freshman Gabriele Mitchell scored a game-high 15 points against Antonian.
Providence freshman Gabriele Mitchell scored a game-high 15 points against Antonian.
Providence freshman Christiana Howell (11) gets rebounding position against Antonian's Jazmin Howard (23).
Providence freshman Christiana Howell (11) gets rebounding position against Antonian’s Jazmin Howard (23).
Providence freshman Gabby Gutierrez battles an Antonian defender for possession.
Providence freshman Gabby Gutierrez battles an Antonian defender for possession.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Kennedy vs. Memorial photo gallery, Jan. 17, 2014 (photos by KJ Toso)

Photos taken by KJ Toso. To view more photos or to purchase photos, please visit:

Memorial senior Joe Aguilar (15) led the Minutemen with 20 points.
Memorial senior Joe Aguilar (15) led the Minutemen with 20 points.
Memorial's Daniel Flores (22) tries to knock a rebound away from Kennedy's Vincent Rios (15).
Memorial’s Daniel Flores (22) tries to knock a rebound away from Kennedy’s Vincent Rios (15).
Daniel Flores (22) of Memorial establishes rebounding position against a pair of Kennedy players, including Jose Espinoza (23).
Daniel Flores (22) of Memorial establishes rebounding position against a pair of Kennedy players, including Jose Espinoza (23).
Kennedy junior Isaac Castro (21) hauls in a rebound against Memorial.
Kennedy junior Isaac Castro (21) hauls in a rebound against Memorial.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Harris shines in Hurricanes’ 28-3A showdown

Sam Houston hits free throws to keep La Vernia at bay

Jordon Harris dissected La Vernia’s defense for 42 points, allowing Sam Houston to silence La Vernia’s comeback in a battle of state-ranked Class 3A teams Tuesday at Alamo Convocation Center.

The Hurricanes (16-9, 4-0), No. 6 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches rankings, made six of eight free throws over the last 2 minutes, 35 seconds to secure a 69-64 win and hold on to first place in District 28-3A. The No. 23 Bears (20-3, 3-1) refused to go quietly despite falling behind 10-2 in the first four minutes.

“Any time a team has had that kind of success, it’s going to be confident,” Sam Houston coach Ike Thornton said. “It was exactly like I expected it to be. I expected it to be a dogfight.

“That’s definitely the type of game we need to play in our district. Coach (Scott) Grubb has done a great job getting them to play tough and to play the right way.”

The game had a playoff atmosphere, aided by Sam Houston’s entourage. In addition to cheerleaders, the school brought its dance team and pep band, both of which performed throughout the contest.

“It was a really big game,” Harris said. “We wanted to show them who was really No. 1.”

Harris converted a one-and-one opportunity at the foul line with 2:35 remaining. The senior guard also nailed two free throws following a three-point basket from La Vernia’s Austin Pickens (19 points), putting Sam Houston ahead 67-60.

It also gave Harris 14 points in the decisive quarter.

“Jordon put us on his shoulders,” Thornton said. “He scored and he shut down their scorer. One of our goals for the game was to play with an undeniable will. For the whole game, I thought they were the ones playing with an undeniable will.

“We had some guys step up in the second half, most notably Jordon. Whether it was getting the big rebound, playing defense or getting the big shot, he was the person to do it.”

The Bears’ Dalton Ruckowitz and sixth-man Justus Parker made quick layups between a pair of game-clinching free throws from Sam Houston sophomore Robert Christian (7 points). The last came after Devin Allen (7 points) claimed one of his eight rebounds.

Harris scored six of the game’s first eight points, while Allen provided the other basket. Harris drove for a layup, scored on the fast-break off a steal from freshman Jawon Anderson (6 points, 4 steals, 2 assists), threw an outlet pass to Allen for a layup and scored on a steal and assist from Anderson in the first three minutes.

That was the signal the 5-foot-11 guard would have a special night. In fact, he recorded a career scoring high.

“We knew coming in (that) he was really good,” said La Vernia guard Colby Sims, who guarded Harris for a portion of the game. “He can do everything. He’s just a good player.”

Sims (28 points) actually had matched Harris point-for-point in the first half. Both had scored 20.

The 6-1 La Vernia wing scored 13 points in the second quarter alone. Sims sank all eight foul shots he attempted during those eight minutes.

“He really took us on his back in the first half,” Grubb said. “He kept us in the game.”

Sam Houston forced eight turnovers in the first quarter, which helped propel it into the lead.

A three-pointer from Sims, .4 seconds before the first quarter launched the Bears’ comeback. It brought them within 18-11 and started a 14-5 spurt that carried them to a 27-25 lead.

“I think, in the first quarter, we were a little shell-shocked,” Grubb said. “I think we weren’t ready for all the fans, the new court and the band.

“I had to remind them that the court was the same size as every other one. But, after that, we got back to playing our type of defense and we played well.”

Both teams had to cope with foul trouble.

Pickens and Parker saw limited playing time for the Bears. The absence of Allen and starter Raymonte Prime, who eventually fouled out, likewise took away two important offensive weapons from the Hurricanes.

“Everybody else had to step up,” Harris said. “We came together as a team.”

The Bears never led by more than two points, but neither did they fall out of striking range.

A fast-break basket from Harris, followed by a pair of free throws from Sims, brought the first half to a close with the Hurricanes leading 33-31. Christian was fouled after a steal – the Bears’ fifth turnover in the quarter – and made both foul shots to give Sam Houston a 43-38cushion with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter.

Sims finished a three-point play and frontcourt sub Nick Simpson scored on an assist from Jonathan Garcia  with 1:39 to play. Suddenly, La Vernia held a 46-45 advantage.

Harris nailed back-to-back three-pointers, his only two of the game, and the Hurricanes finished the quarter ahead 51-49.

Another development during that stretch was that Harris picked up Sims defensively for the rest of the game.

“Jordon wanted to check him earlier in the game,” Thornton said. “We didn’t put him on (Sims), but he kept asking. When we did, he got a couple of baskets. Once Jordon adjusted to what he was doing, he shut him down.”

The La Vernia standout didn’t score in the fourth quarter. “I just wanted to shut him down, every way I could,” said Harris, who had a game-high four assists. “No shots. No easy baskets.”

Although Sims was locked down, the Bears kept clawing.

A shot from Pickens in the left corner brought La Vernia within 57-56 with 5:28 to play. Harris scored six of his team’s next eight points, including that crucial one-and-one that hiked the lead to 65-57.

“We’re playing great,” he said. “We’re playing team ball every single game.”


BOYS BASKETBALL: This week’s results (thru Jan. 25)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Jan. 19-25

Tuesday’s results

District 28-5A

Steele (13-12, 3-1) 68, Corpus Christi Carroll (13-7 ???, 2-2) 58

East Central (18-7, 4-0) 62, South San (12-13, 2-2) 47

Southwest (6-19 ???, 1-3) 84, Corpus Christi King (6-14 ???, 0-4) 68

District 28-4A

Brennan (20-4, 8-0) 71, Jefferson (6-19, 2-6) 30

Brackenridge (12-14, 3-5) 72, Fox Tech (1-23, 0-8) 21

District 29-4A

Floresville (12-11, 8-0) 71, McCollum (16-10, 6-2) 57

Harlandale (17-10, 6-2) 89, Medina Valley (12-14, 3-5) 52

Memorial (8-15 ???, 4-4) 61, Southside (6-21, 1-7) 41

Kennedy (4-20 ???, 2-6) 78, Uvalde (9-15 ???, 2-6) 76

District 28-3A

Hawkins (5-20, 0-3) at Poteet (5-13 ???, 0-3), 7:30 p.m. (score unavailable)

Sam Houston (16-9, 4-0) 69, La Vernia (20-3, 3-1) 64

Pleasanton (8-14, 2-2) 69, Somerset (4-14 ???, 2-2) 66


Cornerstone Christian (2-5 ???, 2-2) 69, Austin Regents (11-11, 1-3) 68 (OT)

Holy Cross (7-18 ???, 2-1) 60, Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (2-15 ???, 0-3) 53

Wednesday’s results

resultsDistrict 28-4A

Highlands (12-12 ???, 6-2) 57, Burbank (10-14, 2-6) 55

Lanier (20-6, 6-3) 45, Edison (17-11, 6-2) 44 (OT)


Antonian (22-9, 1-0) 49, St. Anthony (16-9 ???, 0-1) 48

Central Catholic (20-6, 1-0) 79, Austin St. Michael’s (7-14 ???, 0-1) 32

Friday’s results

District 28-5A

East Central (18-7, 5-0) 97, Corpus Christi King (6-14 ???, 0-5) 64

Corpus Christi Carroll (13-5 ???, 3-2) 53, South San (12-14, 2-3) 46

Southwest (6-19 ???, 1-3) at Steele (13-12, 3-1), 7:30 p.m. (rescheduled to 2 p.m. Saturday)

District 28-4A

Brennan (21-4, 9-0) 74, Brackenridge (12-15, 3-6) 56

Burbank (11-14, 3-6) 80, Fox Tech (1-24, 0-9) 24

Lanier (21-6, 7-3) 53, Jefferson (6-20, 2-7) 48

District 29-4A

Floresville (12-11, 8-0) at Harlandale (17-10, 6-2), 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled to 11:30 a.m. Saturday) 

Medina Valley (13-14, 4-5) 56, Kennedy (4-21 ???, 2-7) 34

McCollum (16-10, 6-2) vs. Memorial (8-15 ???, 4-4) at Edgewood Gym, 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled to noon Saturday)

Southside (6-21, 1-7) at Uvalde (9-15 ???, 2-6), 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled to 11 a.m. Saturday)

District 28-3A

Pleasanton (8-14, 2-2) at Hawkins (5-20, 0-3), 7:30 p.m. (score unavailable)

Sam Houston (16-9, 4-0) at Poteet (5-13 ???, 0-3), 7:30 p.m. (rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday)

La Vernia (21-3, 4-1) 61, Somerset (4-14 ???, 2-2) 53


Central Catholic (20-6, 2-0) 50, Antonian (22-10, 1-1) 34

Corpus Christi John Paul II (16-3 ???, 1-0) 85, Brownsville St. Joseph’s (???, 0-1) 58


San Antonio Christian (28-10 ???, 4-0) 73, San Marcos Baptist Academy (5-9 ???, 0-3) 35

Austin Hyde Park Baptist (3-11 ???, 1-1) at Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (2-15 ???, 0-3), 7 p.m. (rescheduled to Saturday ???)

Saturday’s results

District 28-5A

Southwest (7-19 ???, 2-3) 77, Steele (13-13, 3-2) 73

District 28-4A

Edison (18-11, 7-2) 49, Highlands (12-13 ???, 6-3) 46

District 29-4A

Harlandale (18-10, 7-2) 83, Floresville (12-12, 8-1) 77

McCollum (17-10, 7-2) 77, Memorial (8-16 ???, 4-5) 68

Uvalde (10-15 ???, 3-6) 72, Southside (6-22, 1-8) 60

District 28-3A

Sam Houston (17-9, 5-0) 86, Poteet (5-14 ???, 0-4) 28


St. Anthony (17-9 ???, 1-1) 72, Austin St. Michael’s (10-14 ???, 2-4) 53


Austin Regents (12-11 ???, 2-3) 66, Holy Cross (7-20 ???, 2-3) 55

TMI (22-8 ???, 4-0) 81, Cornerstone Christian (2-6 ???, 2-3) 43

Victoria St. Joseph (14-14, 3-2) 47, Austin St. Dominic Savio (12-12 ???, 3-2) 45

Austin Hyde Park Baptist (3-11 ???, 1-1) at Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (2-15 ???, 0-3), 7 p.m. (score unavailable)

GIRLS BASKETBALL: This week’s results (thru Jan. 25)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Jan. 19-25

Tuesday’s results

District 28-5A

Southwest (20-7, 4-2), 65, Corpus Christi King (11-13, 0-6) 46

Steele (20-4, 6-0) 66, Corpus Christi Carroll (23-7, 4-2) 31

East Central (10-15, 3-3), 53, South San (10-17, 1-5) 46

District 28-4A

Brennan (22-0, 13-0) 71, Burbank (5-18 ???, 2-10) 30

Jefferson (10-14, 5-8) 72, Fox Tech (5-21, 2-11) 21

District 29-4A

Medina Valley (20-8, 9-1) 54, Harlandale (17-11, 6-4) 35

Kennedy (9-16, 4-6) 54, Uvalde (8-14, 2-7) 34

Floresville (19-10, 9-1) 69, McCollum (8-16, 4-6) 37

Southside (14-12, 6-4) 66, Memorial (5-22, 1-9) 43

District 28-3A

La Vernia (23-5, 6-0) 59, Sam Houston (5-17 ???, 4-2) 50 

Somerset (12-11 ???, 3-2 ???) 59, Pleasanton (5-22, 2-4) 34

Poteet (5-21, 2-4) 49, Hawkins (2-14 ???, 0-5 ???) 37 


TMI (4-7 ???, 0-2) at San Antonio Christian (1-3 ???, 0-0 ???), 7:30 p.m. (score unavailable)

Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (24-5, 3-1) 52, Holy Cross (11-21, 1-3) 34

Cornerstone Christian (10-3 ???, 1-2) 53, Austin Regents (18-5, 3-1) 41


St. Anthony (17-7, 3-3) 51, Austin St. Michael’s (11-12, 2-3) 47

Wednesday’s results

District 28-4A

Brackenridge (23-5, 11-1) 58, Highlands (19-11, 9-4) 56

Lanier (12-14 ???, 9-4) 33, Edison (12-18, 5-7) 29


Antonian (20-8, 5-0) 41, Providence (2-19 ???, 1-5) 32

Incarnate Word (19-8, 5-2) 41, Corpus Christi John Paul II (9-4 ???, 0-4) 13

Friday’s results

District 28-5A

Corpus Christi Carroll (24-6, 5-1) 78, South San (10-17, 1-5) 39

Corpus Christi King (12-12, 1-5) 35, East Central (9-16, 2-4) 29

Southwest (19-7, 3-2) at Steele (19-4, 5-0), 7:30 p.m. (rescheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday)

District 28-4A

Brackenridge (24-5, 12-1) 58, Lanier (12-15 ???, 9-5) 37

Burbank (6-18 ???, 3-10) 49, Fox Tech (5-21, 2-11) 23

Edison (13-18, 6-7) 43, Jefferson (10-15, 5-9) 39

District 29-4A

Harlandale (17-10, 6-3) at Floresville (18-10, 8-1), 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday)

Medina Valley (19-8, 8-1) at Kennedy (8-16, 3-6), 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled, details TBA)

Memorial (5-21, 1-8) at McCollum (8-15, 4-5), 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled for noon Saturday)

Uvalde (8-13, 2-6) at Southside (13-12, 5-4), 6:30 p.m. (rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday)

District 28-3A

La Vernia (23-5, 6-0) 46, Somerset (11-12 ???, 2-3 ???) 39

Sam Houston (5-16 ???, 4-1) at Poteet (4-21, 1-4), 6:15 p.m. (rescheduled for noon Saturday)

Pleasanton (6-21, 3-3), 65, Hawkins (2-14 ???, 0-5 ???) 35


Austin St. Michael’s (11-12, 2-3) at Corpus Christi John Paul II (9-3 ???, 0-3), 6 p.m. (rescheduled ???)


San Antonio Christian (1-3 ???, 0-0 ???) at San Marcos Baptist Academy (???, 1-1), TBA (score unavailable)

Austin Hyde Park (???, 0-2) at Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (24-5, 3-1), 5:30 p.m. (rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday)


Brownsville St. Joseph (???) 41, Antonian (20-9) 37

Saturday’s results

District 28-5A

Steele (20-4, 6-0) 88, Southwest (19-8, 3-3) 47

District 28-4A

Highlands (20-11, 10-4) 69, Young Women’s Leadership Academy (1-23, 0-13) 27

District 29-4A

Floresville (19-10, 9-1) 56, Harlandale (17-11, 6-4) 53

McCollum (9-15, 5-5), 42, Memorial (5-22, 1-9) 32

Southside (14-12, 6-4) 62, Uvalde (8-15, 2-8) 44

Medina Valley (20-8, 9-1) 57, Kennedy (8-17, 3-7) 51

District 28-3A

Sam Houston (6-16 ???, 5-1) 58, Poteet (4-22, 1-5) 27


Brownsville St. Joseph (???, 3-1 ???) 32, Antonian (20-10, 5-1) 28

Incarnate Word (20-8, 6-2) 53, St. Anthony (17-8, 3-4) 44


Cornerstone Christian (11-3 ???, 2-2) 62, TMI (4-8 ???, 0-3) 35

Austin Regents (19-5, 4-1) 54, Holy Cross (11-22, 1-4) 50

Victoria St. Joseph (24-6, 5-0) 58, Austin St. Dominic Savio (19-11, 3-1) 49

Austin Hyde Park (???, 0-2) at Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (24-5, 3-1), 5:30 p.m. (score unavailable)

BOYS & GIRLS BASKETBALL: Area rankings (thru Jan. 19)

Through Jan. 19



1. Central Catholic

2. East Central

3. Edison

4. Lanier

5. Sam Houston

6. McCollum

7. Harlandale

8. South San

9. Highlands

10. Southwest

11. Brackenridge

12. Burbank

13. Memorial

14. Jefferson

15. Kennedy



1. Brackenridge

2. Southwest

3. Harlandale

4. Highlands

5. Lanier

6. South San

7. Edison

8. Southside

9. East Central

10. Holy Cross

11. McCollum

12. Kennedy

13. Sam Houston

14. Jefferson

15. Burbank

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Highlands records 20th win of season against Edison

Pearce, Prince lift Owls past determined Golden Bears


Highlands guard Aaliyah Prince scored 22 points against Edison.
Highlands guard Aaliyah Prince scored 22 points against Edison.



For a young team, it’s always good to have achievement milestones to measure itself by. Highlands obtained one of those last Friday, when it recorded its 20th victory of the season.

The Owls (20-10, 9-3) defeated Edison (12-17, 5-6) 63-56 at Lanier to reach the 20-win mark for the first time in three years. It has been a long climb for Highlands to that summit. Two years ago, its last in Class 5A, the team finished 6-26 overall and was winless in 10 district games.

This year, Highlands has held third place in District 28-4A for most of the season. Edison is in fifth.

“We’ve been playing really well,” Owls coach Adrianna Wiatrek said. “We didn’t play too well but, before that, I’ve been happy with the way we’re playing. And, of course, we still beat Edison.”

The victory was Highlands’ sixth in seven games.

Highlands had an 11-7 lead after one quarter and Edison was within 31-29 at halftime. The Owls extended their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Golden Bears 15-10 with help from do-it-all junior Emily Pearce (10 points).

“Emily hasn’t been one of our main scorers,” Wiatrek said, “but she hit back-to-back three(-point baskets). That was what got us over the hump. For the last two games, she’s been at eight or 10 points. She’s usually around two or three points.”

From there, Highlands relied on standout sophomore Aaliyah Prince. Prince produced 22 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, six steals and four blocked shots for her best overall performance of the season.

“Pretty much, Aaliyah put us on her shoulders and carried us,” Wiatrek said. “She only had eight points in the second half. With her defense and getting other girls to score, she kept us going.”

Jazmine Jackson contributed 10 points and freshman guard Kiara Pesina scored eight, but both of them fouled out, so Highlands had to rely on help from junior Jina Lackey (7 points) and senior Mercedes Reyes (6 points).

“Our bench is doing well,” Wiatrek said. “Jina Lackey has been coming off the bench, but she’s used to being a starter. Mercedes Reyes has been doing a pretty good job coming off the bench. She’s been getting rebounds and putting in some shots.”

Junior Amy Marcos led Edison with 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Marisa Salas contributed 13 points and three assists. Jody Alatorre finished with nine points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Despite the win, Highlands made just eight of 25 free throws (40 percent).

“One thing we have to improve is our free-throw shooting,” Wiatrek said. “We’re also been giving away too many turnovers. Those are the key aspects we have to fix.”

Highlands was scheduled to face second-place Brackenridge (21-5, 10-1) Wednesday.

The Owls biggest challenges in that game will be their main concerns as they prepare for the playoffs. Brackenridge fed on Highlands mistakes for a 67-45 win Dec. 13, in the first round of district play.

“We’d break the press, but then turn the ball over when we had a two-on-one or three-on-two break,” Wiatrek said. “That game we ended up with 35 turnovers, which is just unheard of. For a team (Brack) that wants to run, that’s like death.”

Obviously, though, the positive Highlands can build on for Wednesday is its ability to break Brackenridge’s press, which fuels the Eagles’ offense.

“It’s a positive and a negative for us,” Wiatrek said. “They want to share the ball that much. It’s good that they want to keep the ball moving and get everybody involved, but we need better decision-making.”

She attributes the decision-making dilemmas to relative inexperience.

“I guess its the maturity level,” Wiatrek said. “I don’t have a true leader. My best players are freshmen and sophomores. So it’s like the young leading the young.”

The benefits will be reaped over the next couple of years, but Highlands has restored itself as a playoff team and a program to watch in Class 4A.

“I still don’t feel like we’ve peaked,” Wiatrek said. “We’re still trying to get to that point. I’ve been telling the girls every day in practice, once it all clicks, you’re going to be amazed.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: McCollum defeats Harlandale, takes second in 29-4A

Guerrero leads Harlandale with 16 points


McCollum has been at its best under pressure during the District 29-4A.season, and that was never more true than last Friday at Harlandale.

The Cowboys (16-9, 6-1) won in double overtime against Memorial and in overtime against Kennedy. So McCollum was on familiar turf when Harlandale (16-10, 5-2) tied the score late in the game. It weathered the storm for a 75-68 victory.

“One of my assistant coaches made that point after the game,” McCollum coach Luke MacKay said. “We’ve played nothing but close games in our district. They’re used to the pressure. It was a close game into the second half, so I think it did help.”

The teams entered the game tied for second place in  District 29-4A. McCollum’s sixth-consecutive win vaulted it into second place while the Indians fell to third.

McCollum got some separation from Harlandale in the third quarter, when it outscored the Indians 25-13 to build a two-point halftime lead.

“It was a back-and-forth game except for the third quarter,” MacKay said, “when we wrested control from them a little bit. Our defense and rebounding were a little better. They have a high-potential scoring offense, so that was important.

“We just stuck to what we were doing (offensively), but we took better care of the ball. Their overall team speed is really phenomenal. It seems like they can be in multiple places at once.”

A rare four-point play from senior guard Nathan Martinez (15 points ) helped the Cowboys keep Harlandale at bay in the fourth quarter.

“They tied it up in the fourth quarter and we made a couple of free throws,” MacKay said. “They went small. They put out five little guys, but we were able to hold on.”

Harlandale scored 26 points in the quarter, but McCollum made its free throws down the stretch for the win.

“Joey Villarreal made some really big plays,” MacKay said. “Tre Johnson was outstanding all night. He had a double-double (in points and rebounds).”

A McCollum freshman also sparked the team’s finishing kick. Santiago Vasquez (10 points) converted a steal into a fast-break layup late in the game.

“Coming off the bench, he made a big impact,” MacKay said. “He’s a talented player and that was a big play when they were making a run. He was able to finish among three Harlandale guys.”

“Santiago scored 10 big points, but he also made some big defensive plays that helped us protect the lead.”

Senior Nathan Martinez led McCollum with 15 points. Villarreal scored 13 points for McCollum. Angel Loera and Cosmo Cantu contributed 12 points apiece. Johnson added 10 points to go with double-digit rebounds.

Senior Mando Guerrero led Harlandale with a 16-point outing. George Rodriguez produced 11 points and Joshua Rodriguez scored 10. Jesus Maltos added nine.

McCollum has an important test looming Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Cowboys will play host to first-place Floresville (11-11, 7-0). The Tigers’ size will present problems for McCollum.

“They have really good size,” MacKay said, “and because of that, they’re really a tough matchup for ourselves and the rest of the district.”

Floresville defeated the Cowboys 68-32 Dec. 20 in Floresville, which put a team that had been inconsistent with only flashes of its potential in the non-district season in the 29-4A lead.

“That probably was our worst game of the year,” MacKay admitted. “We really cracked under the pressure of our first district game. We were up 7-0, then they stole it and dunked it, and it just went downhill from there. “Now we’ve played a double-overtime game, an overtime game and played in that hostile environment at Harlandale. The guys have learned to deal with that kind of game. They don’t let it get to them too much.”

Harlandale will play host to rapidly improving Medina Valley (12-13, 3-4) Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.