Victoria West needed someone to step in.
The Warriors were humbled by losses to Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (80-52) and Flour Bluff (57-44) last week. At the time, West had a mathematical chance of finishing second in the district 29-5A.
Going into Tuesday’s regular season finale with rival Crosstown East, the Warriors were without senior forward Dion Green and senior Darrion Lacy only played in the second half.
Junior forwards Kamron Mobley and Jackson Hodge each contributed eight points and nine and eight rebounds, respectively, as West came from behind to beat East 71-60, snapping their two-game skid.
“We were both ready,” Mobley said. “We were anticipating it and were excited to come in and prove we can grab some rebounds.”
The win secured third place for West (21-12, 11-5) and avoided a third place ladder match with Corpus Christi Ray.
The Warriors will face La Joya Palmview, the second place team of 30-5A.
“It gives confidence to a lot of guys who haven’t been there that much,” West coach Cody McDonald said. “We have feedback, but those other guys didn’t have the experience of a game that meant something like winning third place for us.”
The Titans (10-21, 4-12) had their chances in the game.
East used a 3-of-6 tee shot in the first three minutes of the game. They led 14-9 after the first quarter and led by as much as six points in the first quarter.
Brady Parker and Eric Franklin each scored five points in the first quarter. The Titans were able to capitalize on nine turnovers in the first quarter to take the lead.
Parker finished with a record 22 points
“I thought we were finally going to put together a full game,” East coach Michael Ellis said. “We played so much better in the second half for the district.”
West shot 3 of 10 in the first quarter and didn’t hit a shot until Luke Parker knocked down a layup at 4:40 of the first.
The Warriors rallied in the second quarter behind 11 turnovers by the Titans.
West used turnovers to go 25-7 and shoot 6 of 16 in the second quarter to take a 34-21 halftime lead.
The Warriors’ lead grew to 21 points in the third quarter.
“I felt like we were sort of shaken by the pressure,” Hodge said. “Then the coach explained to us what we had to do and we went over there and executed. We slowed down and moved the ball.
Tuesday ended a two-game winning streak for East, but the Titans feel like they’ve made progress in Michael Ellis’ sophomore year.
“It was our playoff game,” Ellis said. “We just focused on improving ourselves. We focused on improvement. I think next year will be our year.
Victoria West 71, Victoria East 60
Points: (A) Donovan Oliver 4, Brady Parker 22, Leslie Clark 2, Bryson Ortega 4, Fernando Pena 8, Eric Franklin 7, Nijahrell Prater 9, Caden Williams 3, Matthew Jackson 2; (F) Darrion Lacy 3, D’andre Fillmore 10, Jadyn Smith 20, Zo Morgan 10, Luke Parker 2, Kibreante Williams 2, Jackson Hodge 8, Shawn Mettey 8, Kameron Mobley 8.
Halftime West 34-21. 3 points: (E) Franklin, Williams; (F) Mettey 2, Morgan. Records: East 10-21, 4-12; West 21-12, 11-5.
Sam is a sports reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach him at email@example.com or (361) 580-6576. You can follow him on Twitter @Fowlersports14.