(Columbus) – The Seguin boys basketball program looks to advance through the second round of the UIL playoffs for the first time since 1968 tonight when the Matadors face Angleton in the area bracket of the 5A Region IV post-season at Columbus High School.
The Matadors (17-13) advanced through the bi-district round for the first time since 2005, and the first time in Dwayne Gerlich's nine seasons as head coach, with a thrilling 71-68 win over Austin-Lanier on senior point guard Mark Garcia's buzzer-beating three from half court Tuesday evening at Buda-Hays.
Video footage of Garcia’s game winner went viral on social media and even made Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays on ESPN Tuesday evening, but Gerlich says his team had no problem moving past the celebration and into business mode Wednesday morning.
“We’ll celebrate it some more after the season’s over, but it’s time to start focusing, and our kids good about getting on to the next thing,” the coach said. “They know there’s another game right around the corner. We talked about them, got the scouting report, came out here and did a little shooting and stuff, and got our mind focused back on what was going on.”
Angleton (21-11), the District 27-5A champion, cruised past San Antonio-Memorial 59-31 in a Monday night bi-district game, so Gerlich and Wildcats' head coach David Koonsen were able to scout each other's playoff openers.
Seguin post Cedric Ward, a 6'4" senior, scored a season-high 30 points against Lanier and leads the Matadors with an average of 16.3 per game. Tyler Fricke (11.3), Jay Sayles (9.5), and Xavier Bateman (9.2) have been strong offensive contributors as well, and Bateman supported Ward's inside work with 12 points on three three-pointers in the bi-district win. Sayles, a 6'6" senior forward, leads the team in rebounding (9.5), blocks (3.4), and steals (1.9).
The frontcourt matchup should be be intriguing to watch tonight. Angleton has the size to match Seguin with a pair of 6'5" posts in Salomon Smith and Ronnie Chaney and 6'3" forward Malik Louison anchoring the front line. Louison scored 13 points in the bi-district win over Memorial, and Smith played lock-down defense against Memorial's 6'9" center Joshua Pitts, holding him to just five points. Junior guard Koby Richardson finished with nine points, Koy Richardson and Chaney added eight apiece, and Smith contributed seven.
“I think our defensive strategy is going to change a little bit,” Gerlich said. “Against Lanier, we were out there to pressure their guards – they have two of the best guards in the Austin area. Against Angleton, we’re going to pressure the ball a little bit, be arm’s length away, but we’re going to go back to more of our traditional, mid-line, in-the-paint defense, and try to protect it. They do like to penetrate, their big guys are big, and they do like to try to throw the ball inside and get position on you, so we’re going to be more in a help-side type defense.”
The Wildcats have played at a slightly faster tempo than the Matadors this season. Angleton averages 62 points per game and allows 54.1 defensively, while Seguin has outscored opponents by averages of 55.9 to 52.1.
Tonight's opening tip in Columbus is slated for 8 p.m. The game will air live on KWED 1580 AM and Seguintoday.com, with pre-game coverage 15 minutes beforehand.