East Central basketball team’s depth allows players to maintain intensity
East Central has been coming at opponents in waves.
In Hornets coach James Rabon’s third season, his team has the depth to keep the pressure and intensity high. East Central (2-2) demonstrated that it’s a team to watch with an 80-43 win over MacArthur (2-4) on Nov. 20 and a 98-66 decision over Marshall (4-4) on Nov. 21.
Those blowout wins came on the heels of a 69-68 loss to Brennan, No. 1 in the Express-News preseason rankings. The Bears won on a last-second shot.
“We had a real solid week,” Rabon said. “I’m proud of the way the kids responded.”
Rabon said the Hornets are implementing his coaching philosophy, which calls for not only defensive intensity generating transition baskets but also sharing the ball on offense.
“This has been three years in the works, to teach them how to be selfless,” Rabon said. “When you all play together, it’s natural to have a different scoring leader every night. And we did that our first three games.”
East Central returns seven players from last year’s team, which finished 10-21 overall and 2-12 in District 27-6A.
Seven Hornets players averaged seven or more points a game through the first four games. Eleven players scored at MacArthur, led by Daniel Chase with 26 points. Austin Trainer also was in double figures with 11 points.
“We didn’t get out to a fast start, but we outscored them 30-7 in the second quarter,” Rabon said. “We kept pressure on them the whole game, and eventually we started getting points in the paint, which led to 3-point shots.”
Chase averaged 22 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals in the two wins.
“Daniel got a lot of it in transition,” Rabon said. “He plays at the top of our press at 6-foot-6 and he’s very active.
“He earned those points. He was a beneficiary of the energy he was putting out, and the guys behind him as well.”
Against Marshall at the Bonewitz Center, Chase scored 20. Athlos Academy transfers Jonathan Ochoa supplied 15 and Semaj Mitchell 10 points, respectively. Mitchell and Andres Garza returned to East Central after transferring to Athlos last year. Ochoa is new enrollee.
Marshall standout Sayvon Frye scored 27 points and claimed 16 rebounds despite the Hornets’ defensive strategy to keep him under control and leave it for the other Rams to step up. Despite Frye’s impressive output, the final score is evidence the Hornets’ tactics worked.
“They couldn’t keep us from scoring,” Rabon said. “It just worked out in our favor that game.”
The Hornets raced to a 15-0 start and never surrendered the lead. East Central led 28-18 at the end of the first quarter and 52-31 at halftime.
East Central will play in the prestigious South San Tournament, which takes place Thursday, Nov. 29 to Saturday, Dec. 1.
Brooks Academy 60,
Fox Tech 41
Senior Juan Nerio scored 28 points, leading the Bengals to a decisive win at their former district rival, Fox Tech.
The Buffaloes led 13-10 after a quarter, but Brooks Academy grabbed control of the nondistrict game with a 20-point second quarter. The Bengals led 30-24 at halftime.
Tony Martinez scored 11 points and John Gomez 10 points for Fox Tech.
San Antonio Christian 40
The Eagles (7-0) remained undefeated with a nondistrict victory over San Antonio Christian (3-6) Nov. 20 at Brackenridge.Joshua Guajardo and Donyae Suarez led a balanced Brackenridge scoring attack with 10 points apiece.