An inside look at our 5A/6A Region IV favorites, sleepers, cinderella teams, and key match ups that will be great to watch for Texas HS basketball fans. Bi-District and Area Championships will be completed by the end of this weekend, and next Monday and Tuesday, March 2nd, and 3rd, the Regional Quarterfinals will begin, and wrap up the region tournaments by Saturday, March 7th. These next two weeks will fly by before you know it. Before the playoffs truly get underway, get some free insight on our Region by reading below. Enjoy!!
Favorite: Wagner (30-5) (15-1) – The best team in the city of San Antonio this year, and have consistently performed well in big games. Head Coach Rodney Clark has his team always ready to play & Assistant Coach John Smith helps keep the bench & team locked in, focused, with plenty of energy, ready to perform. One of the most exciting teams that I have seen this year simply because of the fact that they compete the entire 32 minutes each game. Knowing this is their last year in 5A you can feel a sense of urgency. They look to not only head back to state, but this time, raise the trophy at the end of the state tournament. Seniors Journee Phillips (17.6 ppg) & Brealon Seals (12.4 ppg) have played strong for the T-Birds this season. They both have the ability to put the ball on the floor, finish through contact, and are capable 3 point shooters. ’21 Jesean Jackson (12.9 ppg) has performed big in games this season, opening the eyes of many schools and putting them on watch. His natural feel for the game, pull up jumper, passing, and ability to guard his yard separates him from your average PGs. These 3 guards are looking to win it all and I’m going to enjoy watching them put in the work to get there. San Antonio needs a boys state championship, and I am rooting for the T-Birds to do it!!!
Sleepers: #25 Harlan (24-4) (16-0) Coming into this season, we expected Harlan to play well & they certainly did all year. Going undefeated throughout district play & playing a tough non district schedule, the Hawks will be ready to compete. Like Wagner, Harlan is in their last year in 5A, so they’ll also look to capitalize on this opportunity to make history, not only for their school, but for the city of San Antonio. ’20 Jalen Mangum has been an absolute bucket this season putting up multiple games with over 30 points. He has the ability to create for his teammates, take over games, and hit big shots. ’20 Elijah Lomas is also having himself a good season, putting up big numbers in some district games. Lomas rebounds, and defends the paint well for Harlan, and these two seniors will be key for them during this playoff push. The Hawks are a deep ball club, and their defense is intense, often causing turnovers which lead to transition buckets. The Hawks have guards who can hit from outside, and finish their layups. Also, let us not forget to mention their well respected HC Coach Jarvin Hall. Anyone that has played for Coach Hall or knows his coaching style, knows his teams always come ready to compete and play HARD.
Laredo Martin (24-12) (11-1) – Back to Back District Champs that played a strong schedule early on this year. Yes, they have 12 losses, but don’t be fooled on how this team plays the game. They have a chance with their chemistry, uptempo style of play, and shooting that allows they to stay in games with good teams. I think this could be the season that Martin makes a further run in the playoffs. The team recently took a home buzzer beater loss to Tuloso Midway with new Head Coach Garcia, but I have a feeling this was the extra motivation they needed to get over that hump. ’20 Winder Vasquez leads the team in scoring at 17.7 ppg, while sophomore teammate ’22 Kevin Garcia averages 16.3 ppg, along with 8.3 rebounds. Expect these two players to be big for the Tigers!
Cinderella Story: W.B. Ray (24-4) – A hungry team coming off back to back district championships, aiming to make a deep run. This season, 2 of their losses were by one bucket, and the other 2 were to 6A Madison & East Central. If they stay disciplined and focus on each matchup they face, I plan on seeing them in the regional semi-final taking on SA Wagner. Senior Captain G Jalen Williams, & Senior Ryan Nurenberg have been leading the way for the Texans up to this point in the season. Now they will look to take on the task of doing it in the playoffs along with the help of their teammates who are able to knock down timely big shots. Coach Bourg coaches his team hard and expects them to execute the game plan through, and leave it all on the court. Can this finally be the year that a CC team breaks through and goes to state?? We shall wait and see!!
Key Games: Boerne Champion/Dripping Springs – Plenty of people that I have talked to have picked Dripping Springs, but I still think that Boerne Champion will give them a run for their money, and won’t be surprised if they come out on top of this one. This game will be played at Clemens High School in San Antonio, so I expect the Charger fans to fill the gym to give their team a slight edge. Dripping Springs only two district losses were to LBJ, who was ranked top 20 all season long. They are a tough team, and know how to score the ball & defend. Whoever takes care of the basketball down the stretch in the 4th will end up winning this game. This should be a great first round match!
Brackenridge/Southside – Brackenridge is coming off a district championship and can be a team that makes a run to into the regional quarter final, where they would see the Harlan Hawks. Winner of that game in my eyes will be in the Region Final, but nothing is guaranteed, and why I marked down this game. Southside is not an easy win, and have a player in Richie Torres who is 6’5 and one of the best 2022 players in the city. The Cardinals will need a big game from him and the rest of his teammates to play well in hopes of upsetting a Brackenridge Eagle team that has plans to make their own history. This team isn’t the biggest, but they play with a lot of heart & fight, and when you play with that passion, you always have a chance to win!
Wagner/Tivy – Shall these two teams meet in the Regional Quarterfinals, it would be one of the most anticipated games of the playoffs. Having split 1-1 in district, Tivy upset Wagner, giving them their only district loss. Kerrville Tivy would be looking to shock the world once again, and bust the bracket by taking out the region favorite. Wagner will be eager to show Tivy that the loss shouldn’t have occurred, and that things will be different come this time around. Fans are going to pack the whole gym, the hype is going to be real, players are going to be hustling all over the court, the coaches are going to go at it, and us media folks will be smiling, enjoying the intense action.
Favorite: #4 Austin Westlake (32-1) (16-0) – There should be no surprise as to why Westlake is the 6A Region 4 favorite, after the incredible season they have had this year. A team that has only 1 season loss and has looked very good all year. The Chaparrals have 7 Seniors on the team that are looking to make some history of their own. 6’7 Senior Carson May, and 6’7 KJ Adams are two players that are really dominant for this ball team. Adams in my opinion is the most dangerous player in this tournament. EYBL experience from AAU, and has played against some of the best of them. Having him on your team this time of season is definitely an advantage, and I think he is looking to show the state that he IS THE REAL DEAL!!! Although KJ is a big piece of what Westlake does, let’s not forget his Senior teammates Max Butler, Rory Munro, Ian Goehring, Daniel Villarreal, DJ Bray, and Christian Haralson, who are going to leave it all on the court.
Sleepers: #25 Judson (26-9) (16-0) – Have had a remarkable season, and are absolutely balling out right now. This team is tough, and they are coached so well. Disciplined, hungry, and eager to prove themselves this year. Judson has recently just been ranked, but if you had the chance to see them in district, you know they have been playing at an elite level. Defensively they are pests, and will get into you 94ft. Their stud QB/PG Mike Chandler II averages 16 ppg, which leads the Rockets in scoring, but it is his ability to create and control the tempo that truly separates him. The Rockets have 4 double digit scorers in Kyonte Holder, Ambrose Johnson, Davion Wilson, Chandler II .They know how to get up and down the court and will look to go toe to toe with Westlake in the Regional Quarterfinal.
#20 Los Fresnos (30-3) (10-0) – The Falcons have had a great season of success up to this point, where the real fun for them begins. This is what they have all been waiting for. They knew this year was going to be special, and now with their core bunch mainly Seniors, will aim to make a state appearance & break new boundaries. Their road to state won’t be easy as they’ll face a tough Alexander team in Area, followed by Nixon/Vela. The Falcons are averaging 66.4 ppg, and the main reason is because of their balanced scoring. The team has 4 players averaging double digits. Los Fresnos is led in scoring by ’23 Fr. G – Gerry Martinez who averages 16.5 ppg. ’20 Ricky Altamirano 16.1 ppg, ’20 Elian Gonzalez 12.7 ppg, and Luis Gonzalez with 11.8 ppg. Having multiple scoring options is what makes this team dangerous. Coach Hinojosa is ready to make a statement come playoffs, so expect his team to be ready to compete for a full 32 minutes pedal to the medal.
Cinderella Story: #22 Brandeis (28-3) (16-2) – Won the NISD district title, and picked up a big first round Bi-District win over Churchill comfortably. In the win against the Chargers, Brandeis starting five all finished with double digit figures. The Broncos have had an absolutely great season behind Head Coach Marc Gardner, who really has turned this group of men into a serious state contender. Some of these guys have been teammates since the 6th grade, and now they get a chance to make one last run together.
The Broncos team chemistry is second to none. The players talk amongst themselves and find ways to be successful. Being disciplined, unselfish, tough, with knock down shooters, and a deep bench, are all things that will help make the difference in close games. You don’t have to try to pump up or hype these players up, they know what’s at stake and are going to put all their focus on the ultimate goal. ’20 Seniors – Tanner Brown & Kyle Schaefer are both averaging 15.5 ppg, while junior teammate Gavin Gibson, whom I think is the teams X-Factor for the playoffs, averages 10 ppg. Their journey to state won’t be easy, but it is not impossible, and the way the Broncos have been playing, anything can happen. We look forward to seeing how they finish out the season!
Key Games: O’Connor/Roosevelt – An intriguing Bi-District matchup that is going to be a very close game between two scrappy, tough, and hungry teams. Roosevelt’s ’21 Corey Jackson leads the Rough Riders in scoring at 15.1 ppg , while teammate ’20 Rashod Owens averages 12.9 ppg. Rough Riders have guards that are capable of beating their man off the dribble & know how to create for their teammates. O’Connor has played solid all season long and in a tough district. They’ll look to bounce back after a loss that could have given them a share of the district title. They will look to use that loss as fuel, and bust the bracket by upsetting multiple teams in this years playoffs, but they will have their work cut out for them. Panthers are led in scoring by ’21 big man Adam Benhayoune at 17.4 ppg, followed by ’21 PG Isaac Orozco who averages 12.1 ppg & 4.6 apg. What I will be watching in this game is for the X-Factors. Seniors Abdi Ali & Vincent Mann are two guards that can impact a big game like this one for Roosevelt. Senior Logan Lopez has scored double digits 10 games, while Junior G – Thomas Worrich hit a 3 point buzzer beater against Holmes earlier in district, and has proven to be a good shooter for O’Connor. These last four players mentioned here could really be the difference in this Bi-District game!
Judson/Westlake – Two monster teams that will have talent all over the court and throughout the entire game. They will run into each other in the Region Quarterfinal that will determine who represents region 4 at the state tournament. The Rockets have had some close games this season, and are battle tested. This could be the year we see Judson with a BIG playoff statement. Though they can compete, there stands a huge task in front of them in Austin Westlake. The matchups between the two teams are going to be fun to watch. We will find out which players can truly guard their yard, bang down low, and which team knows how to play good help defense. Both coaches will have a game plan and will do their best to execute it through. Will Westlake run the table, or, will Judson show the state that the city of San Antonio has some hoopers too? I can’t wait, it is going to be epic…
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