|Hanna and Porter start their postseason quest this week|
By: Iran Perez
Photos by: Adrian Hernandez
The #3 Hanna Golden Eagles (29-4, 13-1) and Porter Cowboys (23-10, 10-4) boys basketball teams will start their second season this week, both teams have qualified for the basketball state playoffs.
Hanna goes into the playoffs as the district champion out of district 32-5A and Porter goes into the postseason as the number three team from the same district.
The Eagles will face the Edinburg Economedes Jaguars (16-4, 7-7) Monday night at the La Feria High School gym at 7pm.
Hanna is lead by Mario Castañeda 16.2 PPG, Anthony Garza 16.5 PPG/9.3 RPG and Rio Grande Valley 5A rebound leader Albert Lekach with 12 RPG and 13.6 PPG.
Castañeda who can run the point, play shooting guard and rebound versus bigger opponents will be a handful for the Jaguars defensemen.
Garza is a real shooter and when he gets on he can light up any scoreboard across the state. He is very athletic and can also play aggressive defense. He is a leaper who can rebound just as well as he can shoot and his powering dunk versus Weslaco at home proves his ability to go vertical.
Lekach is a big player who loves to do the dirty work and is a rebound machine, a lot of his points have come off missed shots.
The Eagles will have to try and contain Jaguars cager John Barrientos who is averaging 14 PPG and Ricky Cantu who is averaging 9 rebounds per contest.
Economedes is the fourth seed out of district 31-5A and is coached by Lalo Rios (fourth season at the helm) an Edinburg icon who after graduating from Edinburg High in 1995 starred for the UT-Pan American Broncs.
Rios knows first hand the style of play Brownsville teams bring having gone against Brownsville Pace in the first round of the 1993 and 1995 playoffs during his playing days as a Bobcat.
The last time Economedes played in the postseason was six years ago when Albert Rios, who is the father of the current coach, was at the helm.
The Eagles are looking for a long run at the postseason and they should. Under their belts they hold two big wins versus McAllen High who is currently ranked #1 in the RGV and #19 in the State of Texas.
On Tuesday night, Porter will go up against a good Harlingen South Hawks (11-3 in district play) team who finished as the 31-5A second seed behind undefeated Edinburg High.
The game is slated for a 7:30 pm start at the Harlingen South Gym.
Porter will have to try and stop Rico Herrera (23.1 PPG) South’s high scoring machine. Herrera leads all 5A teams in the RGV in scoring and is one of the reasons that the Hawks are in the playoffs.
Helping Herrera crash the boards is Danny Garcia who tallied 9.2 rebounds per game in district play and Sebastian Monjaras who is a pesky guard who is quick and plays good defense. Monjaras is averaging 9.2 steals per game.
Although the Cowboys do not possess big name players on their squad they might be one of the most complete teams in the Valley.
The Cowboys count on Hector Garza who is one of the top 20 scorers in the RGV with an average of 15 points per game and also collected an average of 3 steals per district contest.
Porter is a pressing team who is well conditioned and can run through out the entire game. They are gritty on defense and collectively as a team can contain any team on a given night. They are a good outside shooting team and Rudy Melchor does an outstanding job running the team’s offense.
One prime example of Porter’s ability to run and beat any team was when in non-district play they beat Santa Rosa who is currently the #10 team in 2A in the entire state of Texas.
That win seemed to have catapulted the Porter Nation into the season that they had. During the season Porter was very competitive in their losses over playoff teams such as Hanna, McAllen High, Weslaco High, and 29-5A champion Laredo United.
The Cowboys are making their eight appearances in the postseason in the last 11 years. Something Porter Head Coach Luis Garza is very proud off.
After beating the Lopez Lobos at home in the second round of district play Coach Garza told me, “We have been in the playoffs seven of the last ten years. That is something I am very proud off, because one rarely hears about a team being such consistent playoff contenders."