Martin, Seguin look to advance to State Tournaments
Martin and Seguin, the last area squads still standing in boys basketball this season, have made their way to their respective regional tournaments this weekend, and are just two steps away from following the yellow brick road down to Austin.
But each faces a formidable foe on Friday, and a potentially more dangerous one on Saturday.
For Martin (29-6), the runner-up in District 3-5A, that opponent will be the 35-3 South Grand Prairie Warriors at 6 p.m. in the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center in Fort Worth. The two schools not only share a nickname, but also a healthy rivalry in any sport they compete in.
South Grand Prairie, the runner-up in 7-5A, is a team almost without weakness. The Dallas County Warriors have won 19 of their last 20 games, and have been ranked in the state’s top-5 all season. Only two losses to DeSoto and one to Mansfield Timberview have kept them from a perfect season.
Ben Emelogu, a 6-4 senior, leads the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game, while Mark Howell averages 12 points and 3.4 assists per game. South Grand Prairie is a deep team that gets contributions from almost all of its roster.
Martin has the team concept down pat as well. Eight of its players average at least four points a game, with no one averaging more than 11 points a game.
The Tarrant County version of the Warriors have won 10 consecutive games, including a 51-50 win over the North Crowley team they could face in Saturday’s regional final. The win over North Crowley snapped the Panthers’ 82-game district winning streak.
More importantly, a Martin win would put the Warriors in the regional final for the first time since 1994, when a 29-5 Martin team advanced to the Region II final in Waco before losing to Plano East, 50-47.
Juan Seguin High School didn’t exist in 1994, but the Cougars have more than made up for lost time by marching to the regional tournament for the first time since 2006. Seguin (32-4), will take on West Mesquite (26-9) at 7:30 Friday night in the Region II tournament at the Culwell Center in Garland.
The Cougars, who have won 12 consecutive games, have already beaten the Wranglers twice this season in pre-district tournaments, taking a 79-42 win in the Duncanville tournament in November, and a 60-50 win in the Cedar Hill tournament in December.
Seguin has proven this season that it is a hard team to rattle, since three of its four losses came to Class 5A teams. The Cougars will rely on their inside combination of Brandon Parrish, Greg Wesley and 6-7 senior Kimani Jackson (33, pictured above). Parrish and Wesley each averaged more than 13 points per game this season.
The Wranglers, who went 12-2 in a rugged District 10-4A, are an up-tempo team that twice scored 100 points in a game this season. They are led by Braylon Rayson, a deadly outside shooter who had 82 three-pointers in the regular season and averaged 19.4 points per game, and Jalen Etienne, who averaged 11 points a game.
(Photo courtesy: Edgecastcdn.net)