The La Pryor Bulldogs captured the boys’ championship of the 59th-annual Southwest Texas Junior College Invitational high school basketball tournament.
They defeated the D’Hanis Cowboys, 59-28, in the title game played last Saturday night in SWTJC’s La Forge Hall Gym.
The Bulldogs got off to a 14-4 lead in the first period, built up a 24-8 advantage by the end of the first half, and outscored the Cowboys, 35-20, in the second half on the way to their lopsided victory.
D’Hanis held an early 3-2 lead in the game, but La Pryor’s Erin Patiño hit on a free throw to knot the score at 3-3.
Patiño’s free throw began an 12-1 scoring run for the Bulldogs that was highlighted by three field goals by Juan Valdez, a three-point field goal by Ruben Amaya, and a field goal off of an offensive rebound by Manuel Perez.
Early in the second period, Marco Castillon scored on a driving layup.
Later in the period, Juan Valdez made a short-range hook shot and downed a three-point field goal, and Ruben Amaya scored on a short-range field goal as the Bulldogs upped their scoring lead to 23-7.
Up 40-19 at the end of the third period, the Bulldogs started the final period with a 12-2 scoring run to blow the game open.
Juan Valdez and Erin Patiño finished as the two scoring leaders for La Pryor with 16 points and 14 points, respectively.
Jacob Hutto wound up with 11 points to top the scoring for D’Hanis.
While the game Saturday was the championship game, the tourney title actually was decided on Friday night in the semi-final contest between the Bulldogs and the Knippa Rockcrushers.
La Pryor won that game by a score of 61-49.
With the score tied at 21-21, the Bulldogs outscored the Rockcrushers, 8-4, during the final two minutes of the first half to take a 29-23 half-time lead.
Juan Valdez accounted for seven of La Pryor’s points. He hit on a short-range field goal, downed a three-point field goal, and tallied off of a put-back shot following an offensive rebound.
Andrew Rowland and Luis Fernandez sank back-to-back field goals for Knippa to cut the scoring deficit to 29-27 early in the second half.
But that was as close as the Crushers came to taking the scoring lead as the Bulldogs outpointed Knippa, 24-5, through the rest of the third period.
Juan Valdez contributed nine points and Erin Patiño netted six points during LP’s third-period scoring surge.
Down by 21 points, the Rockcrushers chipped away at the deficit, but they were unable to recover from La Pryor’s third-period scoring blitz.
Juan Valdez and Erin Patiño ended as the scoring leaders for La Pryor with 21 points and 18 points.
Andrew Rowland and Chris Rattler led Knippa with 19 points and 16 points.
Knippa went on to claim third place in the tournament with a 69-33 victory over the Brackett Tigers late Saturday afternoon.
Chris Rattler and Caleb Drevlow led Knippa with 26 points an 15 points, respectively, while Aaron Pacheco and Abraham Morales each scored 10 points for Brackett.
La Pryor smashed the Utopia Buffaloes, 79-41, in their first game of the tournament Friday.
Three players scored in double figures for La Pryor, including Juan Valdez with 23 points, Erin Patiño with 15 points, and Manuel Perez with 12 points.
Jaren Manis totaled 17 points for Utopia.
In other final-round tournament games Saturday, the Sabinal Yellowjackets won the consolation title with their 63-48 win over the Neuces Canyon Panthers.
Sabinal’s leading scorers were Diego Medina with 12 points, Kenneth Cole with 11 points, and Diego Cardenas and Anthony Flores each with 10 points.
Utopia finished in seventh place with a 63-48 victory over Knippa’s junior varsity team.