Titans tie for 23rd in state heading into basketball season
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By John Hornberg
John Grammer got a surprise Thursday.
Fortunately, it wasn't the gut-churning type of surprise but, instead, was happy news for the men's Victoria East basketball coach: The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches had the Titans ranked with El Paso Bowie for No. 23 in Class 4A heading into the upcoming season.
What he wants to know, though, is how they learned anything about his team.
"We're a new school, I don't know how anyone knew anything about us. We only really have only one returning varsity player, but we have some really good players coming up from the JV.
"It's a good surprise, a pleasant one."
Grammer's team at Memorial last season finished 25-7 and held its own in a tough District 27-5A, including a trip to the area round of the playoffs.
"The people outside of Victoria don't really know who went East and who went West. We played in probably one of the toughest district out of San Antonio, so our players are used to the high level of competition."
And it's expected to be another difficult season. District 28-5A, which includes many of the schools Memorial shared a district with, has the 11th ranked team in Class 5A in Converse Judson, followed by the 12th ranked team in Converse Wagner.
Memorial, which would have been replacing all but two players from the junior varsity, escaped just in time.
"It's more of a compliment to what we've done in the past than really what we are going to do now," he said.
Still, he isn't interested in where the Titans are ranked now.
"I'm more interested in where we will be ranked at the end of the season," Grammer said.
Now, Grammer coaches a formidable Titans team that can be considered the class of their current six-team district.
The Titans have been practicing for the last nine weeks during their athletic period, but begin in earnest Wednesday. The girls' teams at East and West began last week.
"We have a good combination of size and athleticism," Grammer said. "I think, for our district and our area, we are going to be tough to match up against."
For both schools, there's only one player returning with varsity experience: forward Tyler Friedel.
Grammer said he's going to be looked to as a leader because he's been there and seen it all before.
"He's been through the wars," Grammer said. "You see, that's uncertain, we have so many guys that haven't played on varsity. Even if you were a JV star, playing on the varsity in the big, prime-time game, there's a difference.
"So that's what we're going to have to wait and see."
FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS
Friday's games helped clear up the District 30-4A playoff scenario. The Titans, win or lose, have the inside track at a district title since they hold wins over both Gregory Portland and Calhoun. With Victoria East the only undefeated team, the scenario works out like so:
- A Titans win this Friday against Floresville coupled with a Victoria West loss at home against Gregory-Portland wraps up the district title for East. Even if Calhoun finishes 4-1 in district play, East holds the tiebreaker because of its Week 6 victory over Calhoun.
- Floresville has been mathematically eliminated. At 0-3, the Tigers can only really play spoiler. Plus, they have losses to Beeville, West and G-P, the three teams they could have been competing with for the final two spots in the playoffs. Still, they can play spoilers with games against Victoria East and Calhoun left.
- A Titans loss on Friday could throw the district into turmoil again. It would make the Week 10 showdown at Memorial Stadium between East and West a big one for East because a win gives it the district, and a loss would likely throw it to Calhoun (provided the Sandcrabs win their remaining two games.)
- Victoria West is likely playoff bound, but the next two games will determine where the Warriors finish. Losses to G-P and East will put the Warriors in fourth place, while a win against the Wildcats would put them in third.
- The Sandcrabs, by virtue of their wins over West and Gregory-Portland, will finish second, barring something catastrophic in their final two games.
John Hornberg covers Victoria East and West for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at AdvoSports.com.