Despite the 12 point deficit, this was an intense game from start to finish. McHi came ready to avenge their two losses to Hanna during the regular season.
For the first couple of minutes in the first quarter, the ball went back and fourth and both teams were tied at 7, but then it was all McHi. For the next five minutes, Hanna would only shoot one basket, McHi would count 18 points to the scoreboard. Sr. forward, J.J. Avila was all over the place. He never slowed down. During the qtr, McHi, set up a play to show Avila’s range with a three, though he missed it, he rebounded his own shot, drove to the bucket, got pushed around, shot the basket as he was falling, makes it, and then goes on to make the free throw. This was a loud message to Hanna that the Bulldogs were indeed prepared for the trip to San Antonio. Avila led all scorers in the first quarter with 10 points and teammate Sr. G Julio Oyervides would add his only points of the game, but they were the biggest, three consecutive 3-ptrs. This would elevate the score to 1st quarter McHi 25-Hanna 9.
For Hanna it was all Sr. guards Anthony Garza and Mario Castaneda who lifted the Eagles in the 2nd qtr. Garza was relentless, and wasn’t giving up so easily. Despite being cold in the first couple of minutes Castaneda amazingly rebounded the ball and went cross court to get an ‘and 1’ play. This would start the run that would give Castaneda 9 pts. and Garza 8 pts. Garza lit it up with a couple treys from behind the arc. Combined, these guards totalled 17 of the 19 points Hanna scored in the second qtr. The second quarter belonged to Hanna as they outscored McHi 19-11. This would give McHi only an 8 pt. lead. McHi 36 -Hanna 28
After the half, Hanna came out aggressive on defense playing up “in yo face” style. With two critical buckets, Hanna was now within 6 points. As Hanna edged closer, McHi still remained calm, always slowing down the game and running their tempo on the ball. Coach Swift’s Bulldogs were patient on most all possessions, allowing them to score everytime. Hanna, on the other hand, tried to rush the tempo and were out of control several times. This quarter highlighted D-1 football standout Nick Garza as he assumed some point guard responsibilites after unfortunate injury to starting PG Nevin Franks. After missing a shot, he comes back to steal the ball and shoots a quick two. Garza, being the playmaker, was smart and set up Avila for an easy and 1 play which Avila converted to 3 points. Tragically, this quarter ended with a game-ending injury for Hanna’s Mario Castaneda. After being escorted out of the gym, Hanna knew they would have to pick up the loss of their PG and play even harder. Third qtr score: McHi 52-Hanna 40
The Eagles weren’t backing down, but Avila is hard to stop when he’s got the ball under the basket. Mcallen’s Garza is tenacious and spunky and had several key rebounds, but lacks just a softer touch on layups. Despite missing some shots, Garza made up for it in everything else. Getting second chance points, rebounding, passing, setting up other players, Garza was at his best. Hanna was falling into a deeper hole as the score was now 57-42 with 5:14 left in the contest. But as always, Hanna’s Anthony Garza, would go over and beyond to carry his team and fight until the end. Garza scored 14 of his total 32 points in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to give the Eagles a victory. Garza, being calm and focused throughout the game brought another level of play to the Eagles. He lacked a supporting cast that would help out in the stretch. McHi ended strong as Avila, being mismatched many times, took advantage and scored a combined 17 points in the second half with 9 of those points free throws. Final McHi 72-Hanna 60
Special Congratulations to these two players who undoubtedly led their team to the success they have experienced this year!
Sr. G – Anthony Garza, Hanna Eagles 32 pts
Sr. F – J.J. Avila, Mcallen Bulldogs – 31 points