BY TJ GARCIA
EDINBURG – They haven’t played each other in more than two years, yet the schools are only 1.8 miles apart.
Edinburg High is the legacy school. The Bobcats were THE only team in town for many decades (and a dang good one) before the district started building more high schools.
Robert Vela is the new, but powerful kid on the block whose teams live in the playoffs. The irony – which isn’t lost on anyone – is that Vela now resides in Edinburg’s old school building.
Add some pride, brotherly love – and hate – and some good basketball and you’ve got the recipe for a great rivlary game. And that’s what leads the Valley’s Friday night high school slate of boys basketball games: 956sports.com’s No. 4 ranked Edinburg (18-4, 6-0) at No. 2 ranked Edinburg Vela (21-3, 6-0), 7:30 p.m.
The Bobcats and the Sabercats have been on a collision course for a few weeks now. They are the cream District 31-6A and both stand a solid chance to make it to the regional tournament. Vela has the skill, experience and court smarts. Edinburg has a youthful energy and determination to re-establish itself.
Both teams have stars: Vela with Ryan Garza and Alex De La Cruz, and Edinburg with Antoine Woodard and Jesus Cantu. The two teams also have solid role players, good coaches and can light up the scoreboard.
While it will be the boys’ first time to play more than two years, the girls (because they started district play earlier than the boys) already faced off at Edinburg High with the Bobcats taking that game. Friday’s girls’ game starts at 6 p.m. also at Vela.
Vela (14-15, 6-2) has played much better ball as of late and has won five of six entering Friday night and is in second place in District 31-6A. The No. 1 ranked Lady Bobcats are 25-5, 8-0 alone in first and mowing down the competition winning 10 straight.
Something is going to have to give.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES:
This is a great twin bill.
Mercedes will be hopping Friday night as Brownsville Veterans brings its highly regarded hoopsters to the Queen City. The No. 3-ranked Veterans Lady Chargers (23-7, 8-0) visit the Mercedes Lady Tigers (14-13, 7-1) in a marquee match up with tip off set for 6 p.m.
The inside track for the district championship is all that is on the line for this one. The No. 10-ranked Mercedes boys (19-4, 6-0) will also have their hands full when the play host the No. 9-ranked Brownsville Veterans (24-3, 6-0) Chargers. Tip off is set for 7:30 also at the Mercedes gym.
Also, the McAllen Memorial teams will be at McAllen Rowe. It’s getting late into district and everybody needs wins. The Rowe-Memorial results will begin to shape the playoff picture – or throw it into chaos in 30-6A. Same goes for the Sharyland Pioneer teams at Mission Veterans. Lots at stake.