Tonight was the best of high school basketball. One of the few games in the San Antonio area worthy or necessary of actually needing to be played in a large fieldhouse, instead of in a campus gym. It was close to a full house at Northside’s Paul Taylor Fieldouse. Both crowds were well behaved, and decked out in their respective colors. The Central Catholic Buttons in dark blue and the Antonian Apaches with their student section “whited out” with their distinctive red and baby blue trim. Antonian’s band was on hand, both cheerleading squads were at full speed & the Central Catholic student section was up to their constant hijinks and heckling the Apaches players nonstop.
Prior to the game a disabled Iraq U.S. Marine veteran was honored and a check donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. It was refreshing to be away from all the politicial correctness prevalent in the public school scene. A pre game prayer was said over the loudspeakers and then the Star Spangled Banner played as the two parochial schools prepared to square off. The Apaches band played their “Drums of War” song. All in all it was a great high school basketball atmosphere typically reserved for private schools on the East Coast.
To top it all off, Antonian had two ballyhooed seniors in 6’8″ Jonathan Holmes (Texas) and 6’9″ Darrious Hamilton (Boise State) while an undersized Central Catholic squad trotted out the best pure shooter in all of the Austin-San Antonio area in 2011 G 6’3″ Cole Martinez. (there is one other player that would share those honors with Cole, and that’s Pflugerville’s Deon Mitchell, a Northern Iowa signee).
The game started out as expected with Antonian pounding it down low to their bigs. The Apaches had an early 6 point lead but a late run to end the first quarter and early into the 2nd gave Central Catholic a half time lead of 32-21. We often get enamored with the Bigs, but the truth of the matter is that you win at every level with great guard play. Martinez was really made to work for his shots in the first 5 minutes, but as the game wore on he got more and more open looks. 6’8″ Jonathan Holmes had a hand in his face early but when the smoke cleared the slender guard had 18 first half points as he knocked down four shots from behind the arc. He finished with 23 and added 5 rebounds for the game.
2011 SG Cole Martinez (shown below with the Texas D1 Ambassadors) was the man of the night
The 3rd quarter saw Antonian chip away and had cut the game to two points, and momentum appeared to be shifting. But, Central Catholic regrouped and in less than 2 minutes had the game back up to 11 points. It was effectively, game over at that point. Central hit from the perimeter, knocking down nine from beyond the arc. Antonian’s Jonathan Holmes finisjed with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Hamilton chipped in with 9 points & 8 rebounds. Antonian’s other 6’9″ player 2012 Jared Kite also had 9 points and 4 rebounds. The Central fans gave him the raspberry nonstop as he was at their school earlier in the season before transferring back to Antonian (he was their during the 2009-2010 season as well).
The Texas Longhorns get an anthletic wing who also has a nice outside shot in the 6’8″ Holmes
All that Antonian height was negated by committe and especially by the hardnosed effort on the boards by unsung Buttons player Robert Johnson who chipped in 6 points & 9 rebounds as he battled the among the trees. That was the story of the game. More Central guys did little things and contributed in a role that added up to another win in the many that coaching legend, Romy Vela has accumulated. I was curious that Antonian did not run much in the way of high-low sets, or pick and roll but rather had their posts go from block to block. Just an observation. What an enjoyable game/atmosphere. Not only were there students and parents on hand, but both schools had plenty of adult alumni on hand to cheer on the 2011 version of their respective squads.
I got a call from one of the Central Catholic parents a couple of months back when I wrote in a column that I didn’t see anyone else on the private school scene in Austin/San Antonio having an answer for Antonian’s size. Boy, it didn’t take long for them to remnind me of that tonight after the game…lol I will say this. #1, it’s dangerous making predictions based on the performance of 16 & 17 year old kids. #2, Catholic’s guard play won out over Antonian’s size. Hats off to my friend, Coach Vela and his guys. They were the better team on this night.