By TJ GARCIA
And then there were five.
Weslaco and McHi in Class 6A, Brownsville Veterans in 5A and Santa Rose in 3A are the last four boys basketball teams from the RGV still in the state playoffs.
Tuesday will mark the third round, or the regional quarterfinals, of the post-season tournament. A win gets you into the Region IV tournament. All have tough opponents, but in Class 6A, McHi might face the stiffest test in a seasoned Laredo United squad that’s gotten used to advancing deep into the playoffs as of late.
McHi Coach Ryan Flores said his team will have to execute very well in order to get a win over the Longhorns Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial High School.
“We are going to have to be ready to play all 4 quarters,” said Flores. “We are going to try to control the boards and execute on offense. United is a great fast breaking team, so we need to hustle back and challenge them on every possession. If we can take care of the basketball and break their defensive press, it will be a great game to watch.”
Laredo United, much like the Bulldogs, can be ignited by any number of players – starters or reserves. The Longhorns (24-8) beat a tough-as-nails Los Fresnos team Friday night led by a bench player’s 17 points.
Flores said McHi (20-13) is similar in that the Bulldogs have completely bought into a team concept, and they can literally be lead by any player on any given night. For example, only senior post Isayah West scores in double figures – and just barely – at 10.5 points per game.
McHi sophomore Bryan Argil, who averages just five points per game, led the team in scoring Friday in a second-round victory over Harlingen South with 23. West had 24 in a bi-district win a few days before that in an upset victory over Laredo Alexander.
“It’s the team concept. We don’t just play for ourselves, we play for our team,” said Flores. “The main reason we’ve done so well is because our team has realized we need all 5 guys on the floor to win. If you’ve played this game long enough you know the team that plays together, wins together. The rotation handles itself. We have different line-ups and whichever five boys on the floor are playing well stay on the floor.”
In other action:
- The Weslaco Panthers (24-5) will face a battled-tested Laredo United South (18-14) team that lost three in row before the playoffs, but now has beaten top-seated McAllen Rowe and a tough Weslaco East team in the last week. Weslaco’s record speaks for itself as the talented Panthers look to get into regionals. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at CC Carroll HS.
- The Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers (34-3), led by senior guard Aaron Villarreal, travel to Texas A&M-Kingsville (7:30 p.m. Tuesday start) to face a white-hot team in Laredo Martin (25-9). The Tigers went 16-0 in 31-5A and have won their two playoff games by 17 and 16 points, respectively. The Chargers are no joke.
- The Santa Rosa Warriors (26-2) are a juggernaut. The Warriors beat the No. 1-ranked 3A team earlier in the year in La Marque and just beat second-round opponent Dilley by 50. OK, we hear you. Lead by the dynamic trio of Leo Lara, Matt Garcia and AB Lozoya, the Warriors’ only goal is state. They face Corpus Christi London, 7:30 p.m. in La Feria.
- San Perlita defeated San Antonio Gervin Academy 58-52 in the area round and will play sixth ranked Port Aransas at 7pm at Kingsville high school. The Trojans defeated Freer 78-46 in bi-district and will have to contend with a Port Aransas team that is 31-3 and averaging 61 points per game.