GIRLS BASKETBALL: YWLA’s first 20-win season ends early

Cardinals ineligible for postseason

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Young Women’s Leadership Academy.



Young Women’s Leadership Academy finished the season with its best record in its three-year history but, rather than advancing to the playoffs, played its last game before January ended.

The reason that the Cardinals’ season came to a screeching halt Jan. 27, is that they competed as a UIL independent this season. In the previous two years, they were members of District 28-4A.

YWLA (21-12) won far more games than in those years combined, but knew before the season that the postseason was not an option. If the Cardinals had competed in a district, the top four teams would reach the playoffs, but they were outside that structure.

“I’m the kind of person that, if I can’t change that moment,” YWLA coach La Rhon Fields said, “I’ll deal with the hand that’s been dealt.”

Nonetheless, Fields is a little frustrated when he looks at Fox Tech, also a 28-4A member, and other teams in District 26-3A. The Cardinals defeated SAISD rival Fox Tech three times and fashioned a 5-2 record against members of the six-team district.

There’s little doubt that YWLA would have had a good shot to qualify for the playoffs in 26-3A.

“The way it was presented to us,” Fields said, “we could either move up to 5A or go our own way (as an independent). In our three-year history, we had one win (in 28-4A) and we wanted our girls to achieve some success. Fox Tech stayed in and was allowed to choose a level it could compete at, but we were not given the same option.”

YWLA finished 3-25 in 2012-13 in its first varsity season. Last year, the Cardinals were 1-26. In those seasons, they won one of 31 28-4A contests.

They closed this season by winning seven of their last nine games, with TAPPS 2-5A representative St. Anthony responsible for both losses.

Sophomore guard Olivia Balderas currently is the No. 2 scorer in the San Antonio area with a 23.3 average.

Valeria Serenil (6.5 points a game), Julianna Lopez (6.4), Jylian Bolton (5.9) and Karease Williams (5.6) are juniors who stepped up their level of play. Newcomer Meg Garcia became a post presence in her first organized exposure to the sport.

“We’d have liked to be in Class 3A,” Fields said. “We competed mostly against 3A and 4A teams. There’s no doubt there were a couple of teams in 28-5A we could have beaten, but we don’t have the depth to be truly effective against those schools.

“We had a chance in every game. There was not one game we went into thinking we’d be blown out, and we were only blown out once.”

If at all possible, Fields would like to have the chance to reach the postseason next year. He said one option YWLA might investigate is whether TCAL competition is more feasible.

Five of the six Cardinals juniors have participated in three sports throughout their careers and he wants that potential reward to be available to them. He also hopes to play in either a summer or fall league for the first time.

“Our mindset will be, ‘Let’s prove (this) year was not a fluke,’ ” Fields said. “We have to prove ourselves again.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: Unheralded Buttons beating ranked opponents

Central Catholic regroups after Lewis injury

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Central Catholic.


Central Catholic has been rebuilt from the ground up without its five leading scorers from 2013-14, but the Buttons have come up with a winning playing rotation.

The Buttons (18-14, 2-1) have picked up the tempo and relied a bit more on their depth in fashioning a three-game winning streak that includes a pair of TAPPS District 2-5A victories. Central Catholic moved into second place with a 73-47 win at Brownsville St. Joseph (17-8, 1-2) Jan. 31 that finished the first round of district play.

The Bloodhounds were No. 24 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches large private school rankings, but had been ranked several notches higher earlier in the season. Central Catholic is unranked.

“That was really a fun trip for us,” Central Catholic coach Bruce McConaghy said. “The kids played really well. I think they’re really excited about the way they’re playing.”

Central Catholic was a senior-laden team last year, when they fashioned a 25-8 record that included a 20-game winning streak. The Buttons’ leading scorer Tony Lewis, a University of Santa Clara signee, was the only junior among the top-five scorers, but a stress fracture limited the 6-foot-10 center to 3 ½ games this season before he was shut down for the year.

At the time, senior guard Jaime Nava also was injured, but the No. 6 scorer a year ago has returned to help lead the resurgence. Nava scored 22 points in the win over St. Joseph.

Eleven players scored for the Buttons, including Julian Rodriguez (9 points), Will Galindo (8) and Raul Aguilar (8).

“(The bench) has been really good,” McConaghy said. “We’ve had to change our style of play because of Tony’s injury. We’ve had some kids pressed into action, and they’ve responded.”

Central Catholic began the week with a 54-44 win at No. 23 Austin St. Andrew’s Jan. 27. Robert Elizondo scored a team-high 14 points. Aguilar and Tanner Nagel each scored 10.

“The quickness and tenacity of our kids got to them,” McConaghy said. “They weren’t used to playing against that. Any time you beat a team on their home court, it’s a feather in your cap.”

The Buttons rebounded from back-to-back losses to No. 4 Austin St. Stephen’s and No. 15 Antonian. McConaghy could trace the win back to the second half of the St. Stephen’s game, after the home team had established a 30-14 lead.

“We weren’t playing very well in the first half, and they’re good,” he said. “They have a 6-10 or 6-11 kid the University of Texas is interested in. We were missing a lot of shots in the first half, but then we started converting turnovers and getting to the rim.”

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Highlands steering toward historic 28-5A finish

Harlandale coming together for playoff push

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Edison, Harlandale, Highlands, Lanier.


Kiara Pesina is the link between two of Highlands’ best seasons.

The Owls’ sophomore point guard is helping lead this year’s team to what could be the school’s second undefeated district season. Her aunt, Rosalinda Mojica, played for Highlands when it won the first unblemished title in 1981-82.

Although Highlands wasn’t perfect during its 1982-83 district schedule, the Owls came within a win of qualifying for the state finals. Mojica missed an overtime free throw that would have helped send them to state.

“She tells me (that) every night you have to go out there and do your best,” Pesina said. “She tells me she has regretted the day she missed that free throw, and she doesn’t want that to happen to me.”

Pesina has been on a scoring binge recently. Normally more a distributor than scorer, she poured in 24 points as Highlands (23-9, 13-0) won 70-33 at Harlandale Jan. 27 and 17 points as the Owls won 59-47 over

Lanier (18-12, 10-4) at the Alamo Convocation Center.

“Kiara was coming off of a slump,” Highlands coach Adrianna Wiatrek said. “We put a lot of effort into that 2-3 zone (defense) and did well. Now the kids know they can run a 2-3 zone and score..”

Fourth-place Harlandale (15-15, 9-5), which had a four-game winning streak, was within 10-5 when junior guard Justyne Perez (14 points) nailed a three-point shot. The district leader reeled off 19 unanswered points. Highlands forced five turnovers in the quarter.

“We’ve been playing well,” Harlandale coach Jackie Contreras said, “but they’re a tough team. If you make some mistakes, they’re going to feed off them. We dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of.

“I thought we played better in the second half.”

Highlands junior Aaliyah Prince scored 17 points but was held scoreless by the Indians in the second half as the Indians concentrated their defense on stopping her.

That’s where Pesina came in. The sophomore scored seven of her team’s 19 points in the third quarter.

“We saw that they went to a box-and-one (defense) to stop Aaliyah,” Pesina said. “On this team, everybody’s going to get theirs. It doesn’t matter if it’s this game or the next game.

“It’s about us being a team and getting a win.”

Analissa Hernandez scored seven points for Harlandale.

Highlands’ win against third-place Lanier left the Owls three wins from completing a sweep of District 28-5A competition. Highlands led 46-27 going into the final quarter. Lanier’s 12-point margin equaled the closest a district opponent has come to the Owls.

“It was a combination,” Wiatrek said of the fourth quarter. “I was giving everybody a chance to play.”

The Owl’s Alexis Darden scored 12 points and Prince had nine. Lanier received 16 points from Ruby Garza and 13 from Sabrina Cortinas.

“Now that we know what we’re working toward,” Wiatrek said, “we’ve got big shoes to fill.”

Harlandale got a scare at Edison (7-22, 2-11) Jan. 30, but survived for a 38-36 win. Kayla Nunez and Christi Ricondo led the Indians with seven points.

Freshman Judilynn Mayorga led Edison with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Amy Marcos finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

Harlandale recorded a key 51-38 win over fifth-place Brackenridge (12-19, 7-6) in its previous contest. The Eagles had won the first meeting 66-49 Dec. 16.

The victory enabled the Indians to pass Brackenridge in the district standings and hold the final playoff spot with three games remaining.

“We’re a different team than we were in the first round,” Contreras said. “The girls know what they need to do and who they need to stop to get a win. We’re playing our game and peaking at the right time.

“We want it. We have a lot of heart.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: Slow and steady South San defeats East Central

Allen scores seven after Hornets tie 28-6A game

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: East Central, South San.






When East Central traveled to South San Jan. 30, it was certain to be a clash of wills. A tortoise-and-hare confrontation, if you will.

As it did in the ancient childhood fairytale, slow and steady won the race.

The host Bobcats (20-6, 3-2) controlled the tempo from the outset of the District 28-6A game. South San wanted to prevent speedy East Central from turning it into a fire drill. The Hornets (15-11, 3-2) had scored 100 or more points twice in their first four district contests, but South San never lost sight of its objective on the way to a 67-59 win.

“They do an excellent job of getting you out of your system,” South San coach Ray Carroll said of the Hornets. “We wanted to attack, but still stay under control. It’s a credit to our kids, because we really needed to be disciplined in our efforts.”

The Bobcats’ victory tied the combatants for second place in 28-6A with Corpus Christi King (17-10, 3-2). Undefeated Corpus Christi Carroll (20-4, 5-0) led halfway through the district race.

“Our intensity was very high,” South San senior Malik Brown said. “We just kept playing together and it all came out the way we wanted it to.

“It was a pretty big game. We were 2-2 (in district), so we really needed this win.”

The Hornets, who also scored 100 in a Nov. 26 win over Edison, fell behind 12-6 to the Bobcats at the outset. South San seized control with six unanaswered points, four from post Andre Flores.

East Central never led, but managed to tie the score 54-54 with 3:06 remaining on a three-point basket from Greg White.

“From the time we tied it to the end of the game,” East Central coach Jeff Sweet said, “we just needed to play better.”

The Hornets trailed by as much as 10 points in the first half, but made their push from the free-throw line. They made seven of eight foul shots in the third quarter, but didn’t have the touch down the stretch.

“If you don’t make your free throws and you don’t shoot well against them,” Sweet said, “you’re not going to win. But give South San credit. They played very well.”

Bobcats junior Curtis Allen (28 points) scored seven points after East Central tied it, including a three-pointer with 1:34 left that extended South San’s lead to 61-56. He then grabbed a defensive rebound that led to a clinching basket from senior Michael Hernandez (11 points, 4 assists) off an assist from Olando Lopez (11 points, 4 assists).

We knew (Allen) was a great player,” Sweet said. “He hit that three and he hit two big jump shots.”

A three-point basket from senior Brandon Keno (10 points, 3 steals) accounted for the Hornets’ only points in the final minute.

“We have a star player,” Brown said, “but when we start playing as a team, it’s like the team becomes a star player. Everybody knows their role and the right way to play. It came out the way we wanted it to.”

Football standout Wanya Ward led East Central with 17 points. Ethan White produced 12 points and Hector Sifuentes contributed eight.

BOYS BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT: East Central runs to pair of 28-6A road wins

Lanier holds 28-5A lead; Southside prevails in OT

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank, Central Catholic, East Central, Jefferson, Lanier, McCollum, Sam Houston, Southside.

Hornets senior guard Wanya Ward (13) scored 39 points against Southwest.
Hornets senior guard Wanya Ward (13) scored 39 points against Southwest.

















East Central (14-10, 2-1) found the road to its liking Jan. 23 in a District 28-6A game at Corpus Christi Ray (10-14, 0-3). The 89-67 win tied the Hornets for second place with Corpus Christi King (16-9, 2-1) and South San (18-5, 2-1), which defeated Southwest 61-50 Jan. 23.

East Central placed five players in double figures at Ray, led by Wanya Ward (20 points, 4 assists, 3 steals). Ethan White (12 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists) scored 17, Hector Sifuentes (3 assists) had 16 points, Fabian Chavarria also scored 16 and defensive standout Brandon Keno (7 rebounds, 4 assists) finished with 11.

The Hornets also steamrolled Southwest (15-10, 1-2) for a 102-59 Jan. 20 at East Central. Ward erupted for a career-high 39 points.

Lanier 70, Jefferson 53

The first-place Voks (17-11, 10-0) remained undefeated in District 28-5A and closed in on a playoff berth with a pair of wins last week.

Lanier thumped McCollum (12-12, 4-5) 71-47 Tuesday in the Cowboys’ gym and Jefferson (8-15, 1-9) Friday at Alamo Convocation Center.

Against Jefferson, the Voks rolled to a 43-21 halftime lead. Sophomore post Isaiah Vargas led Lanier with 18 points. Raul Solis provided 16 points and C.J. Salazar added 15. Israel Serna scored eight.

Noah Soto was Jefferson’s top scorer with 10 points. Anthony Freire chipped in eight points.

McCollum led 16-13 after the first quarter, but Lanier surged ahead by eight points at halftime. The Voks outscored the Cowboys 43-19 in the middle two quarters.

Salazar led four Lanier double-figure scorers with 14. Joe Soto (11 points), Brian Laque (11) and James Castellano (10) also were in double digits. Vargas finished with nine points and Solis added eight.

Nate Aguero led McCollum with 10 points. Angel Loera scored nine and Santiago Vasquez had eight points.

Southside 81, Somerset 80 (OT)

The Cardinals (8-14, 3-4) emerged with a key District 29-5A win Tuesday at Somerset (14-9, 4-3). Southside outscored the Bulldogs 10-9 in overtime to claim the win.

Southside seized a 35-25 halftime lead. Somerset fought back to pull even at 71-71 by the end of the third quarter. Senior Diego Avila was Southside’s leading scorer with 22 points. Alex Rangel and Manny Martinez each scored 19. Rogelio Diaz supplied eight points.

The fifth-place Cardinals ran into first-place Laredo Nixon (17-8 ???, 7-0) and fell 92-49 Friday in Laredo. The Mustangs jumped out to a 32-6 first-quarter lead.

Avila and Eric Rios each scored a team-high 10 points for Southside. Rangel scored nine and Matt Collier contributed eight.

McCollum 62, Sam Houston 55

The Cowboys upset Sam Houston (7-12, 5-5) and forged a fourth-place tie Friday in a District 28-5A game at Sam Houston. The Hurricanes had produced an upset of their own, defeating third-place Burbank (19-7, 6-3) Tuesday at Lanier.

McCollum outscored the Hurricanes 22-6 to pull out the win. Sam Houston established a 36-30 halftime lead and was ahead 49-40 entering the final quarter.

Vasquez scored a season-high 25 points for the Cowboys. Roger Martinez finished with 13 points. Loera scored 10.

Senior post Devin Allen led Sam Houston with 12 points. Robert Christian (11 points) and sophomore Jawon Anderson (10) also scored in double digits.

Against Burbank, Sam Houston extended its four-point halftime lead to 41-32 at the end of the third quarter. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the final quarter, but the Hurricanes weathered the storm.

Allen led Sam Houston with 14 points. Christian and Anderson again scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Senior Michael Mascorro led the Bulldogs with 19 points. Juan Castillo scored 14 and Moses Montalvo added 11.

Central Catholic 64, St. Anthony 52

The Buttons (16-14, 1-1) TAPPS District 2-5A win over St. Anthony (5-11, 0-2) Saturday at the University of the Incarnate Word.

No team or individual scoring information was available for either team.

The Buttons incurred a tough 64-60 loss to state-ranked Austin St. Stephen’s (18-6) Tuesday at Central Catholic.

The Spartans led 30-14 at halftime. The Buttons closed the gap to 45-32 after three quarters, then erupted for 28 points in the fourth.

Sophomore Julian Rodriguez led a balanced Central Catholic lineup with 12 points. Senior Will Galindo scored 11 points and Raul Aguilar contributed 10. Jaime Nava added eight points.

GIRLS BASKETBALL WEEKLY REPORT: Brooks Academy storms back into 26-3A playoff race

Southwest maintains first in 28-6A; Harlandale upends Brack

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Brooks Academy, Burbank, Harlandale, Jefferson, McCollum, South San, Southwest.



Brooks Academy (2-3 in district) had a rough introduction to District 26-3A this season, losing its first three games by a combined 88 points as the schedulemaker pitted the Bengals against the cream of the district crop.

However, Brooks Academy recovered nicely. The Bengals moved into playoff position, grabbing fourth place with back-to-back victories last week.

The Bengals defeated Natalia 67-56 Tuesday at Brooks. They put an exclamation point on the week with a 70-16 victory over Fox Tech (2-24, 0-5) Friday on the Buffaloes’ home court.

Three players accounted for the bulk of the Bengals’ points against Fox Tech. J. Castillo led Brooks with 21 points. Alyssa Quintanilla scored 20 and B. Santiago added 17.

Statistics from the Natalia game were unavailable.

Southwest 56, South San 43

The Dragons (18-8, 4-1) held its ground heading into this Friday’s prospective first-place showdown with Corpus Christi Carroll (23-4, 4-1).

Southwest defeated South San (11-16, 1-4), which was coming off a 73-68 win over Corpus Christi King Tuesday, in a district game Friday at South San. The Bobcats led 10-8 after the first quarter, but the Dragons had seized control 20-17 by halftime and outscored their hosts 26-13 in the third quarter.

Southwest was led by 23 points from junior Aaliyah Holmes. Alexandra Busby produced 11 points and Brianna Longoria scored eight.

For South San. Desiree Orta scored 11 points and Ariel Sosa had nine.

The Dragons also edged East Central (10-14, 2-3) 41-38 Tuesday at Southwest.

Southwest had to come back from a 32-25 third-quarter deficit to secure the win. The Dragons received 15 points from Holmes and 14 from Busby.

Freshman center Nalyssa Smith led the Hornets with 15 points. Brittany Rodgers scored 12.

Harlandale 56, Brackenridge 50

The Indians (14-14, 8-4) passed Brackenridge (12-17, 7-4) in the District 28-5A standings to take fourth place with a win Friday 23 in the Eagles’ gym. Harlandale moved into position with a 59-40 win over Jefferson (6-20, 3-9) Tuesday.

Senior Elizabeth Herrera led Harlandale with 16 points as the Indians avenged a first-round loss to Brack. Justyne Perez scored 14 points and Kayla Nunez had 12. Analissa Hernandez added eight.

Brackenridge junior Skyler Reyna scored 29 points.

Against Jefferson at Harlandale, the Indians Perez scored 20 points and collected five rebounds. Theresa Navarro made three 3-point shots for nine points. Fawzieh Saleh and Priscilla Gonzalez each grabbed six rebounds.

Junior Angela Hardcastle had a team-high 22 points for Jefferson. Cecilia Campos contributed eight points.

Southside 55, Laredo Nixon 48

The Cardinals (17-7, 8-1) wrapped up their second-consecutive playoff berth with a win over Laredo Nixon (15-10 ???, 6-3) in a District 29-5A game Friday at Southside.

Southside held a slim 33-31 halftime lead over Nixon but pulled away thereafter. Freshman Desirae Arocha led the Cardinals with 24 points. Mayra Sendejo scored 17.

The Cardinals defeated Somerset (7-17, 2-7) Tuesday at Southside. Southside led just 13-12 after a quarter, but had established a five-point lead by halftime. Arocha (18 points) and Sendejo (17) were the leading scorers. Freshman Klarissa Quintana added eight points.

Lanier 49, Jefferson 41

The Voks (17-11, 9-3) locked in third place with a pair of District 28-5A wins, defeating McCollum (2-19, 1-10) Tuesday at the Lanier and Jefferson Friday at Alamo Convocation Center.

Lanier led Jefferson 17-16 at the half, but outscored the Mustangs 20-13 in the third quarter. Destiny Garza led the Voks with 15 points. Ruby Garza scored 12 and Sabrina Cortinas 10.

Jefferson received 18 points from Hardcastle and eight from Phileen Perez.

The Voks had a narrow escape against an energized McCollum (2-20, 1-11). Lanier led 16-10 at the end of the first quarter, but McCollum battled to take a 28-27 halftime lead. The Cowboys led 42-37 through three quarters. Lanier pumped in 20 points in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

Cortinas produced a team-high 23 points for the Voks. Ruby Garza chipped in 11 points. Sophomore Brandi Mojica scored eight points.

Freshmen Celeste Ramirez and Stephnie Esquivel each scored 12 points for McCollum. Miranda Rich aded 10 points.

Sam Houston 54, McCollum 29

The Hurricanes (14-7, 9-2) blitzed McCollum Friday in a District 28-5A game, after seizing a close win over Burbank (9-18, 2-9) Tuesday at location.

At McCollum, senior Jordyn Stewart led Sam Houston with 17 points and Monisha Jones had 15.

Senior Tiaria Mackey scored eight points.

E. Guerra scored nine points for McCollum.

The Hurricanes defeated Burbank at Lanier by outscoring the Bulldogs 18-8 in the final quarter. Burbank had a seemingly solid 33-26 lead through three quarters.

Freshman center Ashawntae Brown led Sam Houston with 18 points. Jones scored eight.

Senior Abigail Macias topped Burbank with 13 points. Jade Moore contributed 11 points and Antwanisha Riddle finished with eight.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Fifth-straight win catapults Brackenridge into third in 28-5A

Eagles suddenly winning by wide margins

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Edison.


Earlier in the season, Brackenridge’s young team struggled to win close games. Lately, the Eagles have been avoiding them altogether.

Brackenridge (12-10, 6-4) claimed its fifth-consecutive District 28-5A.victory Friday at Harlandale. It finally was the nail-biting victory the Eagles had been working toward for so long. After winning the previous four by an average margin of 14.5 points, Brack edged the Indians (14-13, 3-7) 67-64.

“We stepped up and hit some big shots,” Brackenridge coach Joey Isaac said. “Our point guard (Isiah Saenz) handled the ball really well and hit a couple of shots. They’re beginning to believe they can win games, that’s the big difference. They believe in each other.”

Brackenridge also defeated Edison (9-16, 4-6) 58-41 Tuesday at Alamo Convocation Center to help the Eagles ascend to third place in 28-5A. The sixth-place Golden Bears had won their first meeting 55-54 in overtime Dec. 9.

Both teams have surged in the district race since.

“We just had to start playing as a team,” Brackenridge junior post Richard Wallace said. “We’re doing everything better now. We’re focused on our goals and we’ve stepped it up a notch.”

The Golden Bears rebounded to defeat Highlands (9-15, 4-5) 58-51 Friday at Alamo Convocation Center. It was their second win in three games after losing their previous four, as Edison hopes to move into playoff position.

“Most of the teams I’ve had the past few years have finished (the district) strong,” Edison coach Art Vela said. “It’s a dogfight in our district. If we’d scored seven or eight more points, we’d have two or three more wins.”

Edison scored the first six points against Brackenridge, four by senior Lorenzo Vela (the coach’s son). The Eagles tied it with five uninterrupted points from Saenz (12 points, 3 assists), including a three-point basket. The sophomore also added another three-pointer to what became a 15-1 run.

Brackenridge never trailed after the rally.

“In this four-game winning streak,” Isaac said after the Edison game, “We haven’t gotten down on ourselves. We just keep playing together. It has been a total team effort.”

With Brack ahead 16-11 and 5:55 left until halftime, Edison ran off seven unanswered points. Senior post Joseph Ortiz contributed a pair of free throws and a layup off an assist from Jared Zapata.

The Eagles responded once again, with a rebound basket from junior Richard Wallace (15 points, 11 rebounds) and a pull-up jumper from Saenz.

The inside combination of Wallace and Jalen Davis (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) proved difficult for Edison to cope with.

“I guess having more experience on varsity, I should be able to lead the team, and I’m able to,” said Wallace, a second-year starter. “Jalen is a really big help. At the beginning of the season, he was a little bit rusty from football. Now, he’s fitting in well.”

A three-pointer from Nathan Avila and a short jumper from Ortiz brought Edison within 30-26 early in the third quarter. The Eagles finished the quarter with a 6-2 spurt, highlighted by a Jonathan King three-pointer, and the Golden Bears couldn’t mount another challenge, despite 11 fourth-quarter points from Lorenzo Vela (18 points).

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Salinas returns to lift Holy Cross into third place

Defense, rebounding carry Knights



A week before Holy Cross’ game against San Antonio Christian Saturday, Knights point guard Brianna Sallinas left the same gym in a stretcher.

Salinas was taken to Christus Santa Rosa Hospital after colliding with the Holy Cross gym wall. The junior had been pushed by a Corpus Christi John Paul II defender who tried to foul her after making a steal and going in for a layup.

Her return for the San Antonio Christian game was nothing short of triumphant. Salinas scored eight points and sparked the Knights’ defense to a 39-34 victory that enabled Holy Cross (15-10, 7-3) to vault past the Lions into third place in TAPPS District 4-4A.

“I was really nervous,” Salinas said. “It was my first game back.”

In fact, Salinas hadn’t been able to practice in the week following the accident, so she had to miss the Knights’ 40-32 win over Cornerstone Christian Tuesday. She said she had been experiencing back spasms.

“I didn’t know how long she’d be able to (play),” Holy Cross coach Jesse Arguello confessed, “but she looked like her old self to me.”

San Antonio Christian (21-7, 6-4) established a slim 11-9 first-quarter lead. The Knights had to overcome turnovers and cold shooting in first and last quarters to claim their fourth-straight district win since losing Jan. 9 to first-place Victoria St. Joseph.

“It was definitely a defensive struggle,” San Antonio Christian coach Brian Hannas said. “There was a lot of intensity and it was sort of a playoff atmosphere. It was good for our young girls to grow up.”

The Lions, who defeated the Knights 50-39 Dec. 9, have four freshman and two sophomores on their roster. Their leading scorer, Caroline Carruth (10 points, 8 rebounds) fouled out on a disputed call little more than two minutes into the second half with Holy Cross leading 27-22.

“We played defense much better (than Dec. 9),” Arguello said. “We didn’t give away layups. This was our best rebounding game ever. We definitely took a big step. And it helped having our point guard scoring. She only had one point against them last time.”

Holy Cross senior Hayley Andrade (11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) nailed a three-point shot to tie the score 18-18 with 2:58 left, beginning a 9-4 spurt until Carruth’s dismissal. Salinas (6 points, 4 steals), who said she was trying to avoid contact, followed with a steal and assist to volleyball all-stater Victoria Gonzalez (8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) for a layup.

The teams combined to score just nine points in the fourth quarter.

Camryn Hannas, the Lions coach’s daughter, hit a three-pointer that brought San Antonio Christian within 36-33 with 3:15 remaining. The Lions’ Haley Hodges added a free throw, but the visitors came no closer. Andrade sank two free throws and Salinas made one in the final minute to seal the win.

Holy Cross senior Megan Hernandez supplied 10 points eight rebounds.

“It just came down to free throws,” Salinas said. “We rushed a lot of things on offense, but I think we did play hard on defense.”

BOYS BASKETBALL: Area rankings (thru Jan. 28)

Through January 28


TOP 15:


Rank-Team-Last Week

1. South San – 1

2. Lanier – 2

3. East Central – 3

4. Burbank – 5

5. Sam Houston – 4

6. Central Catholic – 7

7. Brackenridge – 6

8. McCollum – 8

9. Southwest – 10

10. Harlandale – 9

11. Edison – 12

12. Highlands – 11

13. Kennedy – 13

14. Memorial – 14

15. Jefferson – 15


NR = not ranked

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Area rankings (thru Jan. 28)

Through January 28


TOP 15:


Rank-Team-Last Week

1. Highlands – 1

2. Southwest – 2

3. Southside – 3

4. Sam Houston – 5

5. East Central – 4

6. Lanier – 8

7. Brackenridge – 7

8. Harlandale – 10

9. South San – 6

10. Holy Cross – 9

11. Kennedy – 11

12. Young Women’s Leadership Academy – 12

13. Burbank – 13

14. Jefferson – 14

15. Edison – 15


NR = not ranked

BOYS BASKETBALL: Area playoff picture (thru Jan. 31)

Boys basketball playoff picture

These are the area teams that have a chance to qualify for the playoffs (in alphabetical order):

Through Jan. 31

ALREADY QUALIFIED: Lanier (19-11, 12-0).

LIKELY QUALIFIERS: Brackenridge (12-12, 6-6), Burbank (21-7, 8-3), Central Catholic (18-14, 2-1), East Central (15-11, 3-2), Fox Tech (12-15 ???, 2-3), Sam Houston (9-12, 7-5), South San (20-6, 3-2).

POSSIBLE QUALIFIERS: Edison (10-16, 5-6), Harlandale (14-15, 3-9), Highlands (10-16, 5-6), Holy Cross (8-21, 3-7), McCollum (13-13, 5-6), Southside (9-15 ???, 4-5), Southwest (12-12, 1-4).

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Area playoff picture (thru Jan. 31)

Girls basketball playoff picture

These are the area teams that have a chance to qualify for the playoffs (in alphabetical order):

Through Jan. 31

ALREADY QUALIFIED: Highlands (22-9, 12-0), Sam Houston (16-7 ???, 11-2), Southside (18-7, 9-1).

LIKELY QUALIFIERS: Brooks Academy (6-11 ???, 2-5), East Central (13-14, 3-4), Harlandale (15-15, 9-5), Holy Cross (15-11, 7-4), Lanier (18-12, 10-4), Southwest (20-9, 5-2).

POSSIBLE QUALIFIERS: Brackenridge (12-19, 7-6), South San (11-18, 1-6).

BOYS BASKETBALL: This week’s results (thru Jan. 31)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Jan. 25-31

Monday’s games

No games scheduled

Tuesday’s games

District 28-6A

Southwest (12-11, 1-3) 59, Corpus Christi Ray (10-15, 0-4) 39

Corpus Christi Carroll (19-4, 4-0) 58, South San (19-6, 2-2) 47

East Central (15-10, 3-1) 100, Corpus Christi King (16-10, 2-2) 86

District 27-5A

Boerne Champion (13-14 ???, 4-7) 52, Kennedy (8-18, 1-9) 37

Kerrville Tivy (20-8, 7-3) 65, Lockhart (12-14 ???, 4-7) 51

Floresville (19-10, 8-3) 80, San Marcos (13-14 ???, 7-4) 65

Alamo Heights (17-6, 9-2) 61, Seguin (12-14 ???, 8-3) 50

District 28-5A

Burbank (20-7, 7-3) 57, McCollum (13-13, 5-6) 36

Highlands (10-15, 5-5) 59, Harlandale (14-14, 3-8) 48

Sam Houston (8-12, 6-5) 75, Jefferson (8-16, 1-10) 54

Lanier (18-11, 11-0) 69, Brackenridge (12-11, 6-5) 67

District 29-5A

Laredo Martin (10-9 ???, 6-2) 81, Laredo Cigarroa (11-8 ???, 4-4) 66

Laredo Nixon (18-8 ???, 8-0) 91, Eagle Pass Winn (4-17 ???, 1-7) 40

Somerset (15-9, 5-3) 53, Medina Valley (11-14 ???, 2-6) 45

Southside (9-14 ???, 4-4) 59, Uvalde (9-15 ??, 2-6) 46

District 26-3A

Cole (12-7 ???, 2-2) 51, Brooks Academy (0-8 ???, 0-4) 43

Marion (17-5, 3-1) 82, Fox Tech (12-14 ???, 2-2) 47

Randolph (20-2, 4-0) 55, Natalia (6-5 ???, 1-3) 34


Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (10-17, 3-7) 59, Holy Cross (8-21, 3-7) 48

TMI (21-14, 9-1) 68, Cornerstone Christian (13-11 ???, 4-5) 46

Corpus Christi John Paul II (13-10, 6-2) at Laredo St. Augustine (9-19, 3-6) (canceled)


Central Catholic (17-14) 54, Austin St. Andrew’s (13-12 ???) 44

Wednesday’s games

No games scheduled

Thursday’s games

No games scheduled

Friday’s games

District 28-6A

South San (20-6, 3-2) 67, East Central (15-11, 3-2) 59

Corpus Christi Carroll (21-4, 5-0) 67, Southwest (12-12, 1-4) 44

Corpus Christi King (17-10, 3-2) 69, Corpus Christi Ray (10-16, 0-5) 57

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights (18-6, 10-2) 64, Memorial (7-21, 0-11) 30

Kerrville Tivy (21-8, 8-3) 48, San Marcos (13-15 ???, 7-5) 45

Lockhart (13-14 ???, 5-7) 62, Kennedy (8-19, 1-10) 52

Floresville (20-10, 9-3) 83, Seguin (12-15 ???, 8-4) 76

District 28-5A

Edison (10-16, 5-6) 47, Harlandale (14-15, 3-9) 39

Lanier (19-11, 12-0) 67, Highlands (10-16, 5-6) 47

Sam Houston (9-12, 7-5) 69, Brackenridge (12-12, 6-6) 61

Burbank (21-7, 8-3) 69, Jefferson (8-17, 1-11) 54

District 29-5A

Laredo Cigarroa (12-8 ???, 5-4) 58, Uvalde (9-16 ??, 2-7) 52

Laredo Martin (11-9 ???, 7-2) 69, Southside (9-15 ???, 4-5) 46

Eagle Pass Winn (5-17 ???, 2-7) 40, Medina Valley (11-15 ???, 2-7) 39 (OT)

Laredo Nixon (19-8 ???, 9-0) 77, Somerset (15-10, 5-4) 63

District 26-3A

Cole (13-7 ???, 3-2) 69, Fox Tech (12-15 ???, 2-3) 51

Randolph (21-2, 5-0) 58, Brooks Academy (0-9 ???, 0-5) 31

Marion (18-5, 4-1) 85, Natalia (6-6 ???, 1-4) 38


Antonian (24-8, 3-0) 75, St. Anthony (5-12 ???, 0-3) 54


San Antonio Christian (29-5, 10-0) 78, Laredo St. Augustine (9-20, 3-7) 42

Saturday’s games


Central Catholic (18-14, 2-1) 73, Brownsville St. Joseph (15-8 ???, 1-2) 47


TMI (22-14, 10-1) 59, Corpus Christi John Paul II (13-11, 6-3) 53

Cornerstone Christian (14-11 ???, 5-5) 59, Victoria St. Joseph (6-15, 0-9) 56

GIRLS BASKETBALL: This week’s results (thru Jan. 31)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of Jan. 25-31

Monday’s games

No games scheduled

Tuesday’s games

District 28-6A

Corpus Christi Carroll (24-4, 5-1) 76, South San (11-17, 1-5) 22

Corpus Christi King (9-21, 2-4) 55, East Central (12-14, 2-4) 50

Southwest (20-8, 5-1) 53, Corpus Christi Ray (20-8, 3-3) 49

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights (13-9 ???, 7-6) 42, Seguin (12-16, 5-7) 39

San Marcos (25-6, 11-1) 59, Floresville (13-14, 8-5) 44

Kerrville Tivy (23-4, 11-0) 64, Lockhart (4-18 ???, 1-10 ???) 21

Boerne Champion (17-11 ???, 8-5) 51, Kennedy (7-18 ???, 2-9 ???) 29

District 28-5A

Sam Houston (15-7 ???, 10-2) 74, Jefferson (6-21, 3-10) 50

Lanier (18-11, 10-3) 56, Brackenridge (12-18, 7-5) 46

Highlands (22-9, 12-0) 70, Harlandale (14-15, 8-5) 33

Burbank (10-18, 3-9) 39, McCollum (2-21, 1-12) 28

District 29-5A

Laredo Nixon (16-10 ???, 7-3) 79, Eagle Pass Winn (0-12 ???, 0-9 ???) 15

Laredo Cigarroa (28-4, 10-0) 45, Laredo Martin (8-14 ???, 5-5) 41

Somerset (8-17, 3-7) 54, Medina Valley (9-18, 3-7) 45

Southside (18-7, 9-1) 68, Uvalde (3-24 ???, 1-8 ???) 42

District 26-3A

Cole (26-2, 6-0) 67, Brooks Academy (4-7 ???, 2-4) 13

Marion (17-10, 5-1) 95, Fox Tech (2-25 ???, 0-6) 7

Randolph (9-13 ???, 4-2) 41, Natalia (10-13, 1-5) 22


Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (20-9, 10-1) 48, Holy Cross (15-11, 7-4) 22

Cornerstone Christian (12-12 ???, 6-5) 51, TMI (4-19 ???, 1-10) 37

Victoria St. Joseph (28-5, 11-0) 94, Providence (1-27, 0-10) 13

Corpus Christi John Paul II (6-19, 5-7) 46, Laredo St. Augustine (11-15 ???, 3-9) 28


Young Women’s Leadership Academy (21-11) 67, Austin Hyde Park Baptist (1-8 ???) 38

Wednesday’s games

No games scheduled

Thursday’s games

No games scheduled

Friday’s games

District 28-6A

Corpus Christi Ray (21-8, 4-3) 71, Corpus Christi King (9-22, 2-5) 55

Corpus Christi Carroll (25-4, 6-1) 55, Southwest (20-9, 5-2) 42

East Central (13-14, 3-4) 46, South San (11-18, 1-6) 35

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights (14-9 ???, 8-6) 52, Memorial (1-24 ???, 0-11 ???) 17

Kennedy (8-18 ???, 3-9 ???) 36, Lockhart (4-19 ???, 1-11 ???) 30

San Marcos (26-6, 12-1) 54, Kerrville Tivy (23-5 ???, 11-1) 48

Floresville (14-14, 9-5) 53, Seguin (12-17, 5-8) 37

District 28-5A

Burbank (11-18, 4-9) 62, Jefferson (6-22, 3-11) 41

Highlands (23-9, 13-0) 59, Lanier (18-12, 10-4) 47

Harlandale (15-15, 9-5) 38, Edison (7-22, 2-11) 36

Sam Houston (16-7 ???, 11-2) 51, Brackenridge (12-19, 7-6) 38

District 29-5A

Medina Valley (10-18, 4-7) 69, Eagle Pass Winn (0-13 ???, 0-10 ???) 25

Laredo Nixon (17-10 ???, 8-3) 52, Somerset (8-18, 3-8) 44

Southside (19-7, 10-1) 60, Laredo Martin (8-15 ???, 5-6) 55

Laredo Cigarroa (29-4, 11-0) 82, Uvalde (3-25 ???, 1-9 ???) 19

District 26-3A

Cole (27-2, 7-0) 81, Fox Tech (2-26 ???, 0-7) 11

Marion (18-10, 6-1) 80, Natalia (10-14, 1-6) 27

Randolph (10-13 ???, 5-2) 45, Brooks Academy (4-8 ???, 2-5) 38


Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (21-9, 11-1) 57, Providence (1-28, 0-11) 7

Saturday’s games


Corpus Christi John Paul II (7-19, 6-7) 48, TMI (4-20 ???, 1-11) 24

San Antonio Christian (22-7, 7-4) 49, Laredo St. Augustine (11-15 ???, 3-9) 35

Victoria St. Joseph (29-5, 12-0) 83, Cornerstone Christian (12-13 ???, 6-6) 19