First of all, what a terrible Super Bowl.
The biggest sporting event in America had nothing to offer on Sunday night. The game was a snooze-fest (unless you love watching punts); the halftime show was lame and most of the commercials weren’t that funny (or not as funny as revfm.rocks’ Mark Keller when he’s hosting his daily morning show).
The biggest winners from Sunday were baseball aficionados because they can refer to this Super Bowl whenever baseball haters start whining about baseball being boring.
Fortunately for Hill Country residents, there was plenty of great local sports to help you forget the dumpster fire you witnessed on Sunday.
The Tivy girls’ basketball team captured a district title after beating San Antonio Veterans Memorial for the third time this season. The Tivy boys earned a signature victory over their arch rival, and Our Lady of the Hills’ boys soccer team is peaking at playoff time.
The goal of this column, then, is to help you flush Super Bowl 53 out of your brain by highlighting the top individual performances from last week.
Joseph Love — Tivy — Boys basketball
Leaning back in a swivel chair on Friday night, Tivy basketball coach Brian Young smiled as he praised his players’ performance during crunch time of their 57-49 win over Boerne Champion.
With the Chargers seizing the lead in the game’s final two minutes, the Antlers didn’t panic. They didn’t abandon the game plan, and they didn’t play with hesitation. Instead, they remained calm, coolly attacking the holes in the Chargers’ zone. They played like they expected to win the game’s final two minutes. As a result, the Antlers (22-9, 8-5 District 26-5A) outscored the Chargers, 12-3, to earn a season-defining victory.
Senior Joseph Love best exemplified the Antlers’ killer instinct. When the Chargers grabbed a 46-45 lead, Love drained a triple to give Tivy a 48-46 advantage.
With the Antlers clinging to a 50-49 lead in the final minute, junior point guard Christian Gorham spotted Love open in the right corner as he drove down the baseline. He kicked the ball out to Love, who buried another triple to give the Antlers a two-possession lead with 1:05 remaining.
Love finished with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. He also battled defensively, boxing out Champion’s guards to prevent them from nabbing offensive rebounds against Tivy’s zone.
“I usually play off of intensity, so I got pumped up this game,” Love said moments after he buried the Chargers. “Coach Young told me (after the game) that not all Tivy seniors can say they beat Boerne.”
Even fewer seniors can say they administered the coup de grace to the Chargers in the final two minutes. It’s a memory Love can cherish years after he graduates Tivy.
Christian Gorham — Tivy — Boys basketball
Whenever Gorham plays aggressively, the Antlers perform better offensively. It’s a phenomenon that’s been proven time and time again this season.
Gorham remained in attack mode throughout Tivy’s win on Friday. As a result, the Antlers enjoyed one of their best
offensive performances of the season.
Tivy’s point guard did a lot of good things on Friday night. He knifed through the gaps in Champion’s zone defense, finishing with 10 points. He zipped pinpoint passes to teammates and limited Ghavidel’s production in the fourth quarter.
The Antlers need Gorham to show that same assertiveness in their final three regular season games. Junior Jackson Young said it best after the win on Friday: when Gorham is penetrating the lane, the Antlers are tough to handle.
Julia Becker — Tivy — Girls basketball
The Tivy girls basketball team learned an important lesson last Tuesday: It’s hard to beat a really good team three times in a row in a season.
But there’s another moral to be gleaned from the Lady Antlers’ 55-51 win over Veterans Memorial: It’s easier to perform a three-game sweep when you have defenders like junior Julia Becker on your roster.
Tivy’s coaches gave Becker the assignment of defending Veterans’ junior point Sahara Jones, who entered Tuesday’s game averaging 17.5 points per game. Jones is an excellent player and will likely play at a Division-I program in the near future. Becker, though, limited Jones production, holding her to five points in the game’s final minutes to help the No.3 Lady Antlers (31-1, 15-0 District 26-5A) seal another top-5 victory.
“Julia is the best defender that we have,” Ives said after Tivy’s win on Tuesday. “Julia did a great job of keeping (Jones) in front. When she did get to the basket, it was contested and that was all that we can ask.”
During the last two seasons, Becker has cherished the opportunity to play defense. Her older sister, senior Charli Becker, once said that Julia is one of the few players who enjoy playing defense more than offense.
That’s good news for the Lady Antlers. As they advance deeper into the postseason, they will continue to face elite scorers. But with Julia Becker on their roster, they know they have a player who can contain those talented players.
Aaliyah Jasso — Tivy — Girls soccer
It’s been 21 days since Jasso has allowed a goal. The Tivy sophomore goalkeeper allowed a goal during the Lady Antlers’ 3-1 win over San Angelo on Jan. 15. Since that time, Jasso has recorded four straight shutouts, earning a game ball for her superb efforts in the goalie’s box.
After all, Jasso’s performance this season is a big reason why the Lady Antlers (9-3-1, 4-0 District 26-5A) are currently in contention to win a district title. They will receive a tough test when they travel to play Wagner (10-2-3, 4-0-1) in San Antonio.
Brian Casillas — OLH — Boys soccer
The Hawks are gelling as they enter the postseason. On Saturday, they earned a 2-1 win over New Braunfels Christian Academy to clinch a postseason berth and will play their first playoff match on Saturday (They will find out their opponent on Tuesday night).
Brian Casillas delivered the game-winning goal from 25 yards outside to box with five minutes remaining, earning the fifth and final game ball.
Transferring from Center Point to OLH to begin the school year, Casillas has been a dangerous striker throughout the season, and another reason why the Hawks have a chance to make a playoff run.