South by Southwest was not the only show in Austin March 19-20. The Excel Longhorn Classic entertained the masses and showed why it is the premier basketball event of this weekend. Teams as far as Laredo, Eagle Pass, Rio Grande Valley, College Station, Waxahachie, and San Antonio came to get the best Austin and Central Texas has to offer. The outcome was a hotbed that not even this years crazy NCAA March Madness could compete with.
Probably the most impressive performances Saturday came from two high school powerhouses in the College Station Lady Thunder varsity girls and the local ATX Lockdown varsity boys. Both groups showed great depth at all positions with propelled them into demanding three game sweeps of their competition this weekend. It will be exciting to see what these talented teams accomplish this Spring and Summer.
Saturday’s Silver American 8th grade division was dominated by the San Antonio teams with 3 of the 4 first round match-ups resulting in wins. Ultimately this would set up the battle of the Blue Devils. Don’t let the similarities in name fool you. These Blue Devil teams have very different ways to their success. Jose Palma’s Blue Devils are a tenacious group that rely on scrappy defense and an attack offense that has made them successful in this match-up more than not. Marcus Soto’s Blue Devils bunch rely on size and a deliberate half court game that breaks down their opponents. These very familiar foes would battle out for the Longhorn Classic championship with the Blue Devils Soto pulling away in the second half and getting the latest bragging rights in this major rivalry.
In the Red 3rd Grade division the Alamo Hoop Squad showed that all their hard work and dedication has propelled them into sudden success and dominance. Fresh off a championship two weeks ago at San Antonio’s Excel Spring Break Invitational, they picked right off where they left off dominating the division including CTP, Waxahachie Knicks, and a very tough Laredo Lil Kingz.
On Sunday the crowd was treated to Platinum National Championship between Adidas sponsored Texas Cougars Elite and San Antonio Elite. With both teams stacked with talent the contest became dominated by the numerous big men of both teams. The Texas Cougars Elite came in as heavy favorites because of their national spotlight but the guys from San Antonio Elite were not impressed in the 1st half as they held a slight lead the entire time. In the second half the Cougars showed what they were made of going on a 20-6 run to begin the 2nd half and never look back. The amount of spectacular play from both teams made this a memorable championship game.
The Killeen boys from the K Town Bulls showed that they are still the program to beat with championships in Saturday’s Blue 5th grade division and Sunday’s Orange National 6th grade division.
San Antonio’s best teams would come to Austin for Sunday’s Silver 8th Grade boys division. The Dream Loudly Boomers, San Antonio Cobras, and San Antonio Team Warriors were hungry for some new Austin and Central Texas blood and they got what they asked for in the CenTX Soldiers out of Killeen. When the smoke cleared it was a championship battle between the Soldiers and Team Warriors. Early the size and speed of the Team Warriors caused trouble for the CenTX Outlaws but as the game progressed the Outlaws overall athletic prowess became too much for the San Antonio boys as they took the Excel Cup back to Killeen.
One of the last battles of the Sunday Night came in the Amber 9th Grade division. The Eagle Pass Regulators and the Temple Flyers couldn’t have been more different. The Regulators are a tough gritty group that rely on a solid press and great guard play where the Temple Flyers boast a very large front court along with slashing forwards that blaze by their defenders. You can imagine that this contrast would lead to a very close contest. With the lead going back and forth the entire game, the Regulators guard play would be too much late in the game.
OTHER WEEKEND RESULTS: GREEN 4TH GRADE BOYS DIVISION CHAMPIONS HD Toros/RUNNER-UPS Austin Life Prep, ORANGE 6TH GRADE BOYS AMERICAN CHAMPIONS Laredo Speedsters/RUNNER-UPS HD Toros, BRONZE 7TH GRADE BOYS CHAMPIONS HTX Panthers/RUNNER-UPS Austin Dynamic Hoops, GOLD JV BOYS AMERICAN CHAMPIONS ATX/RUNNER-UPS San Antonio Feed the Family, LILAC 5TH/6TH GRADE GIRLS DIVISION CHAMPIONS Texas Elite/RUNNER-UPS CenTX Soldiers, PURPLE 7TH/8TH GIRLS DIVISION CHAMPIONS San Antonio Outlaws/ RUNNER-UPS Texas Lightning, ROSE JV GIRLS DIVISION CHAMPIONS Killeen Lady Assassins/RUNNER-UPS Somerville Attitude
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