It wasn’t exactly the place I thought I would run into the champions of the 5th Annual South Padre Island Tournament, but it was a great way to meet the Kings of the Court off the hardwood. The valley is known for it’s produce stands that line 77 Interstate on your way up North. This is where I got the chance to meet Cougars coach Steve Sylestin and congratulate his team on a great win. It was their last stop on their way home from a weekend full of basketball. The SPI tournament carried 32 teams. Some of those teams included Brownsville Hanna, Brownsville Rivera, Brownsville Lopez and Harlingen South from the RGV, as well as teams from out of town, Plano East, San Antonio Stevens, Converse Judson, Austin Lake Travis, Tomball Christian Life, CC John Paul II, Houston St. Thomas, and Houston HCYA.
In the final, it was San Antonio Clark and Houston Second Baptist that were still fighting for that Island Crown. Final score was 60-56 with Clark getting the win. Clark point guard, Jason Brickman (Long Island Univ.), was named Tournament MVP and finished with 11 pts and 7 assists. Another leading scorer for Clark was Elhad Emerllahu, a four-year starter. He finished the game with a high 22 points. For Houston, it was Mikhail McLean that led his team with 16 points. San Antonio controlled the game the entire time, while Second Baptist came within one possession several times throughout the contest. With about 15 seconds left in the game, Houston landed a 3-pointer that brought them within three (59-56). The cougars answered back with Brickman making one of two free throws to ensure a victory. What a nail-biter!
Congratulations to Coach Sylestin and the San Antonio Clark Cougars for a great tournament!
(photo by Adrian Hernandez from myuniversalsports.com)