Eagles hold off Aggies in thrilling district opener

POTEET—When the Pleasanton and Poteet boys basketball teams met in their District 30-4A opener Friday night, something had to give. The Eagles and Aggies entered playing their best basketball of the season, each coming in with impressive stretches of winning.

Not surprisingly, the two hot teams traded punches throughout the game. In the end, it was Pleasanton’s final push that lifted it to a 1-0 district start.

The Eagles, winners of eight straight and 12 of 13, held off a late rally to walk away from a boisterous Poteet gym with a 63-55 win after trailing by as many as 10 in the first half. The Aggies (17-11 overall) had won 13 of its previous 14 games before the loss.

“We played a good Poteet team, very well-coached,” Pleasanton coach Ricardo Marquez said. “The kids bought into the defense that we’re trying to preach. We’re trying to keep it going.”

A pair of Shaun Gilliam free throws brought Poteet within two points with three minutes remaining, but the Eagles’ Ralph Guerrero nailed a 3-pointer from the corner on the ensuing possession to ensure the Aggies got no closer.

The game featured multiple momentum swings. Poteet built its biggest lead at 23-13 midway through the second quarter on two free throws from Chris Rodriguez. The points capped a 16-2 stretch that bridged the first and second periods. Pleasanton (21-5) went more than six minutes without scoring after taking a 11-7 advantage in the opening quarter.

“We did jump out to a real good start early, and then Pleasanton made some shots. And that’s just what they do,” Poteet coach Reid Walston said. “3-pointers chip into a lead quickly.”

However, the Eagles responded with a 15-3 run to close the half with a 28-26 edge and did not trail the rest of the way.

Pleasanton outscored the Aggies 30-6 after falling behind by 10 to build its biggest lead at 43-29 late in the third quarter. Poteet had only one field goal during the back-breaking stretch.

Gilliam, who finished with a game-high 23 points and 16 rebounds, had 12 of the Aggies’ next 20 points as Poteet cut the deficit to two in the fourth quarter. The junior hit eight free throws in the run, converting 13-of-16 for the game, including his first 10.

“It was a real interesting game,” Walston said. “We had that big lead and they chipped away at it. Then I look up and they have a big lead, and then we kind of chipped away at it. The message to the team is that we’ve got to stay doing what we do. We’ve been really successful coming into this game…We still get seven more district games, so we’re going to take them one at a time.”

Santiago Arguijo and Dalton Hobbs each had 16 points to lead the Eagles. Guerrero chipped in with 11 off the bench.

“I tell the guys just to be ready when their number’s called,” Marquez said. “I might put you in the starting lineup, you might not be. But to me, they’re all the same: They come in and they do their job. Everybody works as a team.”

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