Breaking school records seems to be what it’s about this season for athletics. Making it to the 5A Regional Finals (the farthest basketball has ever gone in playoffs), the boys proved that determination and persistence are the true marks of a champion.
“Playoffs were astounding. Making it so deep.. [While] we were sad and surprised at the way the season ended, but we ended it so strongly. The second round of districts was bad, but we persevered,” said Zach Collins, senior.
True to form, a great season doesn’t come without its trials. Everything from losing streaks, losing players, and (almost) losing faith, the boys came back after their three game loss to secure a playoff spot, encountering Judson and Stevens in the early stages of the conference; but then came the Reagan game.
With D-1 commits Tre Demps and Max Yon, they faced a formidable opponent who would try to pressure their defense and terminally stop Jordan Pratt, junior, and Matt Gramling, junior, the team’s two highest scoring players. In a game that came down to the final fifty seconds, the boys remained enthusiastic and active on the court, upping their defense and defending their territory, ultimately winning 57-52 against the Rattlers.
“Beating Reagan was the high point of the season for me. We had a lot of support this season, but for the Reagan game the crowd came out, and that really helped us out,” Collins said.
Playing in a whole new arena, the boys’ got a taste of college ball at the regional semi-finals in the UTSA Convocation Center, playing against the Harlingen Cardinals. In a game filled with fouls and free throws, the boys ultimately won 77-61 after Harlingen’s top scorer Daniel Ybarra fouled out with a few minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.
The next day, the boys suffered a crushing defeat against Taft (once again in the last few seconds of the game), trailing 46-40 after the referees called several fouls on our defense.
“In the end, we knew how hard we had worked. It was a big let down, our team could have made it to state. We had confidence in ourselves. Coach [Murphy] had confidence in us; it was just a bittersweet loss,” said Ben Fontenot, senior.
Despite their playoff run being cut short by a few fouls, the boys remained positive.
“We were definitely sad. [Most of us are] done with high school ball and we set a record for Mac basketball. It was awesome to be part of it,” said Ben Lytle, senior.