It’s a rare Thursday night playoff game at the University of Texas-San Antonio. My big beef with the UIL’s playoff alignments is that there are several flaws which make me wish they did it the “Louisiana Way”. The folks in the Pelican State seed their teams through a formula developed b y the high school coaches association. This keeps things like the game tonight (Madison-Clark) & tomorrow (Churchill–Taft) from happening in the 2nd Round. These should be 4th Round games. Two very good teams will be watching the rest of the playoffs in the next 48 hours while other mediocre teams continue on.
Two quality coaches & class guys in Coach Valenzuela (Madison) & Coach Sylestine (Clark). This may be Coach Val’s best coaching job as his talent is down from previous years and he survived a 3-9 start to rally the troops and make them believe. Funny thing when kids are unselfish how results can far exceed the individual parts. I love Clark’s personnel. They are a little undersized but both Seniors Ansley benjamin & Kyle Rutledge are junk yard dogs on the boards. Their guard play is solid. Typically, neither one of these teams will beat themselves. Should be a good one.
The 1st quarter ends 15-9 in favor of Clark. Ansley Benjamin’s work on the boards is the difference early. At the half its Clark leading 29-20. Players who are normally 3rd and 4th options are leading scorers on both teams. For Clark, 2012 G Niko Maxwell has 10 & 2011 P Jake Chapman has 10. 2011 F Emilio Trejo leads Madison with 8 points.
In the 3rd, Madison was chipping away but two athletic plays by 2012 Niko Maxwell have put Clark back up by 9 at the midpoint of the quarter. A huge 3 pointer at the buzzer by frosh G Byron Daniels cuts the lead back to a more manageable 41-33 Clark lead. Madison’s hanging around. The biggest shot of the evening may have been when Emilio Trejo of Madison (who was having a great game) is now sitting with an icepack on his shoulder courtesy of a collision with the “A Train” Ansley Benjamin who is linebacker solid. Sorry, but most guys lose that battle. Trejo looks to be done with 8 points, 4 boards & a pair of steals. If Clark hangs on, you hate to see a senior’s last game end like that.
At the midpoint of the 4th quarter it’s 43-37 Clark. Madison is pressuring the ball at every turn. With 2:19 left it’s Clark 46-37 as Maxwell had another key offensive rebound and putback. With the floor spread, Clark finished it out with layups and free throws. Game over. Clark wins 49-37.
Maxwell led Clark with 16 points while Benjamin had 6 points & 10 boards. Rutledge also added 10. For Madison, Trejo & Andre Scott had 8 a piece, while Senior Philip Brown ends his career with 6 points, 9 boards & 3 blocks.