Tonight’s Big Cen Tex Games

Is it any coincidence that of these six teams competing tonight in the Centex area’s marquee games are home to many of the better coaches in the area. Bowies’ Celester Collier & Akins David Peavey have had time in the college ranks, while old hand Steve Sylestine of Clark returns to the boys game after a hiatus from past perennial powerhouse San Antonio John Jay.

Wily Mike Wacker, and Pflugerville’s Mike Murphy were team mates back in the day for the Texas Longhorns. Along with their size and commanding presence, that’s where the similarities end as Wacker’s Judson Rockets aim to control the game in a deliberate fashion while Murphy gives his guards freedom to “go get ’em”. The young buck of the group, Wagner’s Cliff Ellis (a former Wacker protege’) has the deepest collection of athletes, perhaps in the entire State…and he’s going to force the tempo with their full court pressure and wave of hungry 6 footers off the bench looking to cause havoc in the other team’s backcourt.

The beauty of high school basketball is that on any given night 16 and 17 year old kids can break your heart or lift you up. I reserve the right to not be responsible for my predictions…lol

San Antonio Clark v. Austin Bowie

This should be a dandy. Clark has nice weapons in Emerllahu & PG Jason Brickman (Long Island) as well as a good supporting cast led by emerging 2011 W Ainsley Benjamin. On the other hand, Bowie brings super soph PG Paul Baxter who plays above the rim, and a host of lunch pail cats like 2010 P Deandre Perry (Houston-football) & 2011 P Connor Robinson who just gets the job done. Sylestine will not allow their D to get pinned high side as SA Reagan’s did time after time v Bowie on Tuesday. Everybody’s going to have to work for this one. Who can forget Clark’s loss at the buzzer to Pflugerville last year? This year, Clark wins at the buzzer.

San Antonio Clarks’s Elhad Emerllahu won’t equal his career high 37 against Bowie’s amoeba D, the 2-3 matchup zone. However, he will cause them problems inside as well as out. (Photo courtesy of ClarkCougarSports.com)

Bowie is the penultimate “team” with many guys capable of playing their role or also stepping up to carry the team. Below, 2010 W Tre Lindsey could have the hot hand from the perimeter.

Austin Akins v Converse Judson
Akins 1st playoff win in school history over mighty Madison has them as Coach Max’s Cinderella story in this year’s playoffs. I’m going to stick with them even though they face a battle hardened, playoff savvy Judson team. Judson must get superior ballhandling from PG Mike Stewart in order to control pace. Even though Akins likes to run, Coach Wacker will have none of that. Patience and shot selection will decide if Akins advances. Akins by 4.
Malcolm Canada was flat nasty in Akins 1st round win over San Antonio Madison. His 3 free throws to tie it and force overtime were clutch. He won’t get to the rack quite as easily v. Judson though.
Converse Wagner v Pflugerville
If there’s one team that doesn’t mind running with Wagner, it’s The Ville. High major prospect Deon Mitchell when “on” is devastatingly good from the perimeter as well as effective getting to the rim. Wagner counters with Tulsa signee Jordan Clarkson. Wagner boast a host of role players in their full court up tempo game. Watch out for Pflugerville’s Jarrell Turner. He sank one with no time on the clock last year to beat San Antonio Clark, so he must be accounted for. The key is can Pflugerville control 6’7″ Andre Roberson on the boards? It’s not going to be easy. Wagner by 7.
Lamar signee Demetris “Cleveland” Smith needs to come out with his motor running high on all cylinders for Pflugerville to stop Wagner.

Wagner’s Andre Roberson will try and control the boards. He’ll need to clean up with trash buckets to keep the Panthers from running it right back at the favored T Birds.

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