Area teams poised for runs

Fowl Play

 

Winter weather is wreaking havoc on the entire Lone Star State right now, but three area boy’s basketball teams have turned up the heat in the gym.

If we should ever get the playoffs started, expect Pleasanton, Jourdanton and McMullen County to make deep runs this year. All three teams went to the third round or further last year.

The Eagles (17-8) have had a tougher go this year after going 65-8 in their previous two seasons and making a trip to the regional tournament last year. That is likely in large part due to the graduation of four starters from that team. Pleasanton didn’t lose a district game in that time, but lost two district tilts this year.

Throw those results out the window now. Pleasanton won four consecutive games, including their 68-59 win over District 27-4A champion La Vernia on Friday, to lock up second place.

Entering the season, it looked as though sophomore RJ Marquez would have to shoulder most of the load for Pleasanton. In their last four games, while Marquez has been at the top of the scoring charts, it’s been his teammates around him helping the Eagles get back to top form.

Sophomore Layne Dowdy led the way Friday with 20 points. In their last three games, three or more players reached double figures in scoring for Pleasanton.

District championships are nice and a mark of success, certainly, but that’s not Pleasanton’s end goal. They want to be the ones holding the state championship trophy come March.

The Jourdanton Indians (17-1) have had arguably the toughest road to get to the playoffs, though you wouldn’t guess it based on their 15-game winning streak.

Jourdanton won its second consecutive district championship in undefeated fashion despite navigating three COVID-related shutdowns this season.

Jourdanton almost seems like a team of destiny with the way they’ve played this season.

At the beginning, they were slow starters and always seemed to let teams hang around in the first half before pulling away in the second half.

Now, the Indians seem to have everything figured out. They’ve won their last five games by an average of 27.6 points. In their last game against Cotulla, a resounding 85-35 win, Jourdanton showcased a dominant defense that forced 28 total turnovers.

If Jourdanton keeps that dominant defensive form, they have a chance to challenge the likes of No. 5 San Antonio Cole and No. 8 Aransas Pass in Region IV.

The No. 10-ranked McMullen County Cowboys (22-3) are the only ranked team in the area.

Under the direction of first-year Head Coach Jeremy Mills, the Cowboys have been red-hot. They opened the season winning their first 11 games. They’ve only lost to Jourdanton and No. 9-ranked San Perlita, who was able to beat the Cowboys during the District 32-1A seeding game for first place. The Cowboys, who feature no seniors in their team, beat San Perlita on Feb. 9 to force that seeding game.

Much like it is for other area teams, the road won’t be easy for McMullen County. Region IV-1A features four teams ranked in the top 10.

However, the Cowboys seem to love big games. When they lost to San Perlita in overtime at home in January, McMullen County’s Shawn Heritage got two chances at the game-tying three-pointer and nailed the second chance.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how the No. 23-ranked McMullen County Cowgirls have picked up where they left off in last year’s regional quarterfinal run.

McMullen County won their final two games to close out the season, including a commanding 68-37 win over Fayetteville in a playoff tune-up game on Feb. 9.

After losing three of the biggest cogs in their wheel from that team, the Cowgirls are eyeing redemption in the postseason after losing to Moulton last year. They’ll open that quest for redemption against North Zulch in the Area Round eventually. The game was postponed from Tuesday due to inclement weather.

Let’s hope this weather clears up soon.

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