IN THE KNOW: Victoria East vs. Boerne Champion
March 3, 2011 at 5 a.m.
Updated March 2, 2011 at 9:03 p.m.
Victoria East survived a late scare from San Antonio Edison, but was able to punch its ticket to the Region IV-4A tournament with a 48-46 win over the Golden Bears on Wednesday night.
They won't get much time to rest, as the Titans (27-8) will get one day of practice before having to deal with Boerne Champion, the region's highest ranked team at No. 17 in the final regular season TABC poll.
East has relied heavily on its defensive efforts in the first three rounds of the playoffs, and will be counting on them as they stand just two wins from the state tournament.
WHEN: Victoria East vs. Boerne Champion, regional semifinal game, 6 p.m. at the Blossom Athletic Center in San Antonio.
Record: 27-8, 8-2. Won District 30-4A. Playoff wins over San Antonio Burbank (61-46), Corpus Christi Ray (70-42) and San Antonio Edison (48-46).
ABOUT BOERNE CHAMPION
Record: 34-5, 11-1. Won District 28-4A, TABC ranking: No. 17 (from Feb. 21.) Playoff wins over Schertz Clemens (61-56), Marble Falls (58-56) and San Antonio Alamo Heights (53-47).
The Chargers have needed a lot of moxie just to get this far in the playoffs, getting tested at all three rounds of the playoffs so far. Champions' six-point win Wednesday night over Alamo Heights, the TABC's No. 14-ranked team, was its most comfortable. Like Victoria East, the Chargers made the pre-season TABC poll, starting the season No. 12 in Class 4A. Unlike East, Champion stayed in the rankings all year long. The Chargers will turn to 6-foot guard Madison Turner, who had 18 points against Alamo Heights and is averaging almost 19 points per game. The Titans may also struggle with Champion's height; the team's second leading scorer is 6-foot-6 Dallas Quick, who averages 10 points per game, and they can reach onto the bench for 6-foot-8 Brandon Bartos, who hasn't played much but is four inches taller than any regular player on the Titans.
GOALS FOR EAST
TIME TO D-UP: Titans coach John Grammer said after Wednesday's win over Edison that the Titans bread and butter all season long has been defense and rebounding. Those two qualities will be put to the test by a talented Champion team that will likely match them in quickness and possesses a lot of height. This means defense in the form of generating turnovers, sticking with talented players like Quick and Turner, will be critical.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE: There will be a lot of distractions swirling at the Blossom Athletic Center on Friday evening. Boerne Champion will almost assuredly have a large contingent at the game, and will be holding a lot of the cards in the matchup. The Titans need to remember what got them to this point: Sound fundamental basketball on both ends of the court in the form of ball movement, aggressive attacks to the basket and lockdown defense that generates turnovers. Focus will be important in a game that is likely to feature hyper-charged emotions from the players and the crowds.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR EAST?
A win gets the Titans a date in the regional final with the winner of San Antonio Lanier (25-11) and Cedar Park (20-16), which play at 8 p.m. at the Blossom Athletic Center. The Voks are the most unlikely team still alive in playoffs after finishing third place in District 29-4A. They knocked off first place San Antonio Brackenridge, which beat the Voks twice in district play, 51-47 in overtime on Wednesday. Cedar Park finished first in District 25-4A despite its almost .500 record. The Timberwolves also scored a big upset in the regional quarterfinals, knocking off No. 11 New Braunfels Canyon 39-34 on Wednesday at Kyle Lehman. It's worth noting that the Timberwolves were missing a sizeable chunk of their roster until mid-December because of football.