TEXAS INVITATIONAL: Pasadena Teams Show Grit; DeSoto Boys Go For Title

TEXAS INVITATIONAL: Pasadena Teams Show Grit; DeSoto Boys Go For Title
Posted on 11/22/2014
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Rayburn's Stephen Alaniz takes the high road in a collision with Humble's Michael Gonzalez during second-half action. Alaniz missed the shot, but Gonzalez was called for a blocking foul.


To the extent that the McDonald’s Texas Invitational is a peek into the future, basketball watchers – both locally and statewide – got an eyeful on Friday.

Around these parts, the boys teams from Rayburn, South Houston and Dobie gave notice that they may have a lot to say about the playoff slate from District 22-6A next spring.

And statewide, there were startling signs that the list of elite girls teams in Texas may be losing both Duncanville and Manvel, both of whom lost on Friday in the final round of Division 1 girls pool play.

The earthquake on the girls side started when Duncanville lost to Cedar Ridge, 61-45. The setback snapped the Panterettes’ 17-game Texas Invitational winning streak. That streak included three straight Texas Invitational titles and two victories to open pool play on Thursday.

It included a victory over Manvel in last year’s Texas Invitational title game. The two powerhouses met again in the Class 5A championship game in Austin last March with Manvel claiming state honors.

But neither one will be playing in the Texas Invitational’s Girls Gold Bracket. Shortly after Duncanville’s loss, the Lady Mavericks were bounced around by Cy-Woods, 75-49. 

It’s doubtful that Manvel’s loss will rattle the pecking order among 22-6A girls teams. But the boys lineup could be due a shakeup.

The Rayburn boys won their first two pool games on Thursday to move into the vaunted Gold Bracket in Division 2. The Texans lost in the bracket quarter-finals on Friday to Humble 49-44, but had the game knotted with less than four minutes to play. Then Rayburn beat Dallas Hillcrest in the consolation semifinals, leaving the Texans a stout 3-1 in this year’s tournament.

Still, just as the Rayburn boys were falling from contention for a gold bracket championship, the Dobie girls replaced them. The Longhorns beat Corpus Christi Ray 34-32 to finish with a 3-0 pool play record in Division 2 and qualify for the gold bracket. Dobie advanced to the semifinal round on Saturday morning against San Antonio, with the game to be played on the Lady Longhorns’ home court.

A victory there would send the Dobie girls into the Division 2 Gold title game – set for 6 p.m. at Deer Park’s Auxiliary court against either San Antonio Jay or El Paso Eastwood..

Meanwhile, the boys teams from South Houston and Dobie – both 1-1 in pool-action – won their quarterfinals contests on Friday in Division 2 Silver. The Trojans beat Spring Branch Memorial 52-43 while Dobie was roughing up San Antonio Taft 55-40.

Dobie then beat South Houston 50-46 in a Division 2 Silver semifinal. The Longhorns will play for the title on Saturday at 6 p.m. against Langham Creek at Rayburn’s gym. Langham Creek is coached by Charles Ament, a former Dobie player.

Memorial joined South Houston and Dobie in Division 2 Silver, but the Mavericks dropped their quarter-final contest to Langham Creek earlier Friday, 71-61.

The DeSoto boys won twice on Friday to nail down another berth in the Division 1 Gold title game, this time against Atascocita. The Eagles won the title last year and have finished either first or second in the tournament four times in the past five years.

No boys team has repeated as Texas Invitational champs since Kingwood won five straight from 2002 to 2006.

Falling out of title contention against Humble, Rayburn fell victim to a late burst by the Wildcats’ Brandon Joseph. Scoreless through three quarters, Joseph scored seven points in the final quarter, providing his team with timely baskets.

The Texans trailed 28-26 at halftime, then gave up a bit of ground before tying the game at 37-all with five minutes left. Joseph promptly hit a 3-pointer, but Rayburn’s Kyre Edwards answered with one of his own.

But with 3:09 remaining, Joseph scored on a layup. Two more Humble free throws made it a six-point game -- the final margin.

Stephen Alaniz led the Texans with 15 points while Edwards added 19.

(Left) Rayburn's Ryan Mahaney (11) blocks the path of Humble's Cameron O'Dell (35) as he leans in for a shot; (right) Deante Hunt (20) puts up a shot from the lane.

Rayburn Coach Jeremy Mills addresses his team during a second-half timeout.