Close games had been something the Warhorses had gotten to know over the course of the 2016-2017 basketball season. A dramatic last second shot in double overtime on Valentine’s Day against Carrizo Springs propelled Devine to a 2nd place playoff seeding game against Pearsall in Lytle. The Warhorses came from behind to beat the Mavericks to claim the 2nd seed in District 29-4A and a shot at Pleasanton in the bi-district state playoffs.
The matchup against the Eagles wound up being yet another nip-and-tuck game throughout but, unfortunately for the hometown Warhorses, they were not able to pull out another last second win to be able to advance to the Area round losing 41 to 40.
Head Coach PJ Wells, “It was a tell of two halves. The first half we played well on both ends of the floor. We hit some shots and held Pleasanton to only 15 points. We built a 5-point lead by doing the little things right and taking care of the basketball. In the 2nd half, we didn’t value the ball. Our turnovers gave Pleasanton momentum. We had critical parts of the game that we didn’t even get to attempt a shot. Even with those mistakes we still fought back to have a chance to win but we couldn’t pull it off this time.”
The first possession of the game started out well enough for the Warhorses. A few passes around the horn resulted in a 3-point field goal by Jacob Oyola. Zaarion Jackson contributed back-to-back 3-point shots to put the Warhorses up 16 to 9 in the second quarter. Devine’s lead of 20 to 13 equaled their biggest lead of the game but it quickly dissipated as three relatively quick turnovers resulted in 7 points for the Eagles who took the lead 22-20 four possessions later.
A 28 to 28 score opened the 4th quarter but buckets remained tough to come by for the Warhorses. Pleasanton jumped up to a 39 to 34 lead with 3 ½ minutes left in the ballgame. Devine, as they had so many times throughout the season, stormed back to knot the score at 39 on a Daniel Ramirez lay-in with 1:33 left in the contest.
On Pleasanton’s ensuing possession, a missed 3-point attempt and offensive rebound resulted in 2 points from the paint for the Eagles and gave them a 41 to 39 lead with 1:20 left to go. Oyola was fouled with a minute-twelve remaining and connected on the first attempt to pull the Horses within 1 at 41 to 40. Devine had a couple of play options with the clock winding down under 30 seconds but good defense by the Eagles prevented the Warhorses from getting off a decent look as the ballgame played into its final moments.
“I am very happy with the way the season went,” stated Wells. “The kids were put in a new situation with a new program. They bought in, worked extremely hard, and set a good foundation for years to come. Practices were the most enjoyable part. Rarely did I have to punish them for not giving great effort and I applaud them for that fact.”
Devine finished with 20 wins and 11 losses on the season. For a team that was picked to finish fourth in pre-season polls, a second place finish and the opportunity to compete in the state playoffs translates into a successful campaign for the 2017 Warhorse basketball team.
Devine shot 13 of 37 for 35% from the floor with 5 of 15 beyond the 3-point line for 33%. Free throws are always a factor in close games. Devine made only 56% hitting 9 of 16. On the flip side, Pleasanton shot 0% by not making any of their four attempts. The Eagles had a 14 to 11 advantage in points off of turnovers and an 8 to 6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Individually, senior Zaarion Jackson and junior Connor Schmidt each contributed 11 points. Schmidt had 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 blocked shot while Jackson finished with 2 assists and 1 steal. Junior Daniel Ramirez had 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. Junior Jacob Oyola had 4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Senior Angelo Gonzalez scored 4 points and also had 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 blocked shot. Senior Darren Morales contributed 2 assists and 1 steal while fellow senior Beau Cardenas had 1 rebound. Freshman Leonard Pompa had 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.