New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 17, 1993, New Braunfels, Texas
BA ■ HerakJ-Zeltung ■ Friday, Dec. 17,1993Boys’, girls9 brackets draw tops in field
. By RICHARD TIJERINA Sports Editor_
Both defending champions from last year's River Qty Classic return for this year's tournament, but their paths to repeat performances look anything but easy.
New Braunfels (7-5) opens defense of its 1992 championship tonight, when the Unicorns take on Elgin (1-8) at Unicom Gym at 6 p.m. But the Unicorns may be somewhat hobbled; starting point guard Shae Wilkins has not practiced this week since straining his back in Tuesday's win over Austin Travis.
New Braunfels coach Cliff Wilkins said the point guard probably will start
against the Wildcats.
If Wilkins can't go, then Tony Cantu or Jesse Morales will assume the point guard spot.
Canyon (7-4) is coming off its third win of the season over Gonzales (7-4), the Class 3A state tournament team who also is in the boys' field for the Classic. The Cougars open with Taft tonight at 7:30 at Cougar Den.
It may be a bittersweet affair for Canyon coach Kenny Rotzler; he is a 1975 graduate of Taft, but he said enough rime has passed that beating his alma mater would not be hard to take.
"We should be ready to go," said Rotzler, whose Cougars bowed out of the Classic last year after two rounds,The Classic
■ WHAT: 1003 River City Clastic.
■ WHO: Canyon, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Southside, Taft, Gonzales, Elgin, Randolph (Girls: Canyon, Canyon J.V., New Braunfels, Bandera, Lockhart Del Valle).
■ WHEN: Friday and Saturday.
■ WHERE: Canyon High School (Cougar Den), New Braunfels High School (Unicorn Gym).
■TICKETS: $2 adults, $1 students for each session of three games.
but look much improved from last year's 4-21 season. "Aside from some sickness problems, we're all excited Everyone seems to be a little sick,
including myself. The energy level is a bit low, but we sent the team home early (Thursday) to get some rest. Well be ready."
San Marcos enters the tournament as the boys' hottest team. The Rattlers have rattled off 13 straight wins to open the season, and square off against Southside tonight at 6 p.m. at Cougar Den.
"I felt we had a good ballclub when the season began," said San Marcos coach Snuffy Smith, whose Rattlers defeated both New Braunfels and Southside earlier this year. "But 13-0 surprises me."
Elgin coach Walter Key said he just wants his Wildcats to come together, the team already has lost three starters
from last year’s squad — Elgin's best returning player accidentally killed another student with a gun, and has left the high school. Their tallest returning player was caught for theft, and their best point guard was released for disciplinary reasons.
"We've got a bunch of juniors who don't understand what it takes to be a varsity player," Key said. "Hopefully, well come around New Braunfels may look a lot better after us."
On the girls' side, defending champion Bandera feces a stiff first-round challenge from Lockhart, today at 4:30 p.m. at Cougar Den. The game will be closely watched by Canyon coach Tina Duncan, whose Cougarettes (7-5) play the winner on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
"Boerne is usually a pretty competitive team, and Lockhart used to be in our district," said Duncan, who had three Cougarettes miss Thursday's practice with the flu. "That game should be interesting."
New Braunfels (7-5) plays the winner of the Canyon Junior Varsity - Del Valle game on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Unicom Gym. Del Valle beat New Braunfels in the first game of the season, but the Unicorns' roster has changed dramatically since then.
"We just want to go out and enjoy the weekend," Unicom coach Marla Pustejovsky said. "There's no pressure on us to do anything. The main thing is always to go out and look good. We've been getting better each week."Classic
Continued from SA
New Braunfels and Canyon again this year, will last through Saturday evening.
For Canyon and New Braunfels, the Classic offers a chance to show off Comal County basketball, as well as see different kinds of teams before the tough district season begins.
For others, the Classic offers a chance to compete against top-notch
competition. The combined record on the boys' side is 53-35, and it includes undefeated San Marcos.
Fellow District 28-4A member Smithson Valley decided not to attend this year's Classic, as second-year coach Bill MacLeay wanted his team to rest during the week they had to take final exams at school.
"It's real difficult to prepare for the
tournament when you have finals," MacLeay said. "It's a great field, but exams make it too hard to prepare. I'd rather give this week off to the kids for finals."
Taft coach James Gurka, whose Greyhounds face Canyon today at 7:30 p.m., said the Classic offers his team a look at strong competition from Central Texas, rather than the same teams from
The Boys’ Draw
1993 River City Classic December 17-18
■ Former Cougarette Wendy Grabs now plays with Lockhart, who could face Canyon Saturday at 10:30 a m.
■ Taft coach James Gurka was an assistant with New Braunfels coach Cliff Wilkins when the two were at
South Texas. Ironically, Gurka pulled out of the "Toast of the Coast" tournament, hosted by Rockport, to attend the River City Classic.
Rockport is coached by Canyon coach Kenny Rotzlei's brother.
"This trip really gives us a chance to mingle with the coaches and get to know our team a little better," Gurka said. "We've kept playing people in
South Texas. Now we can get a look at opposition in Central Texas. This tournament will be good for us."
Taft is making its first appearance in the Classic, as is San Marcos.
"Itll be a very competitive tournament," Rotzler said. "It's just as strong as last year, if not stronger. There's a lot of talent this year."
Bandera makes a return trip on the girls' side, where the Lady Bulldogs will receive a stiff challenge from both New Braunfels and Canyon, who they might meet in the second round on Saturday.
The boys' championship will be played at New Braunfels, the girls' at Canyon.
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Rangers shoot for rematch Saturday
By RICHARD TIJERINA
Smithson Valley, already hobbled by the loss of three varsity basketball players to serious injuries, lost another one this week when post Jason O'Brien suffered a knee injury.
"We're so beat up," Rangers coach Bill MacLeay said. "We're thin and getting thinner, thinnest I guess."
The Rangers (3-11) host Marble Falls Saturday at 3 p m. at Rangers
Gym. The Mustangs beat Smithson Valley earlier in the season, and MacLeay sa*d a rematch win over the District 25-3A favorite would do wonders for the Rangers.
"We're so young and inexperienced," he said. "They haven't been able to consistently perform at this level yet, especially in tight situations. But the biggest thing is to keep getting better."
The Smithson Valley Alumni Game will immediately follow the game.
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