Thursday, November 19, 2009

McAllen 66 Pasadena Memorial 37

McAllen's 2010 W 6'7" J.J. Avila had 19 for to lead McHi. Coach Roy Swift hopes to get McAllen over the hump in the Regional Finals this coming spring. (Don't count out Laredo United though) I'm here in Houston, TX at the McDonald's Invitational, looking forward to seeing two quality 5A teams from Region 4 play in this afternoon's Doubleheader at Pasadean Memorial HS. Both have aspirations of getting to the Drum in early March. Those teams are McAllen High and Austin Westlake who will not play each other due to the seeding format. McHi is in the Silver Division, while a highly regarded Westlake team is taking on the Big Boys in the Gold.

The McDonald's Tourny is loaded with talent. Last year San Antonio Madison captured lightning in a bottle and had a story book tournament and brought home the Gold Championship to the Alamo City with a thrilling victory over a talented Duncanville squad in the final.

If there's a season for McHi to break that glass ceiling of getting to Regionals but not being able to get to State, this is it. There aren't too many times that a team from the Rio Grande Valley or Laredo area sports a 6'7" four year letterman who can shoot it from the perimeter, put it on the floor and isn't afraid to mix it up on the boards.

Quite honestly it's tough to assess how good McHi can be this year, because Pasadena Memorial is not a very good basketball team. With about a 1000 of their own students spurring them on, there's still nothing to rave about. They are undersized and not particularly skilled. Having said that, it looks like PG Nevin Franks is much improved from last year when Wagner intimidated him and most of the other Bulldogs into a turnover machine. We'll see if McHi can handle pressure better this season as the tournament plays out. That's been their Achilles the past two seasons. If Coach Roy Swift can raise the bar on their ballhandling, that will be the key to beating a San Antonio Wagner/Austin Westlake style of team that brings the heat.

2010 Pg Nevin Franks shows and improved perimeter shot and ball handling confidence. McHi is big enough with 2010 6'6" Ryan Evans & 2010 P 6'5" David Atkinson. However, neither is particularly mobile on the perimeter and will be succeptible to mismatches with big D-1 caliber wings who can shoot the ball from beyond the arc, such as Wagner's 6'7" Andre Roberson and Westlake's 6'6" Conner Kemper. Having said that, they are hardworking kids who give 100%.

2010 PG Nevin Franks ball handling seems surer, and his perimeter set shot looks good. He had 11 points and multiple assists.

2010 P 6'7" J.J. Avila J.J. has improved his agility, extended his range, has a soft touch on his mid range and has also incorporated some nice low post footwork and perfected several nifty moves to finish down low in traffic. Continued development sees him become a bonafide college 3 man, although he certainly could also play the four spot and cause some mismatches on the offensive end. Avila finished with 19 points and double digit boards.

1st Quarter McHi 26 Pasadena Memorial 12

Half McHi 40 Pasadena Memorial 22

3rd McHi 55 Pasadena Memorial 28

Final McHi 66 Pasadena Memorial 37