Jags advance to regional play
The Floresville Jaguars celebrate after winning the area championship in a close 42-40 game with Flour Bluff.
FLORESVILLE -- Some didn’t give them much of a chance this season, but the Floresville Jaguar basketball team is making believers out of doubters with every passing game. The Jags lost many key players from last year and experienced a head coaching change as Terri Twilligear took over the reins. Still, Floresville went on to win its district, and then picked up a pair of victories in playoff competition last week. The team is now headed into regional play.
Floresville finished as the District 29-4A champs this season, and drew Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway in the bi-district round of playoffs. The Jags had little trouble with Tuloso-Midway, though, and locked up a 74-59 victory.
Floresville came out strong to score 14 first-period points, and the Jags’ defense held Tuloso-Midway to just 8 points. The pace then quickened in the second, as each team ran the floor, pushed the action, and seemingly scored at will. Tuloso-Midway more than doubled its first period output with 20 points in the second stanza, but the Jags looked even better, scoring 28 in eight. As the teams headed for the locker rooms, it was Floresville on top, 42-28.
Things settled down in the second half, and the teams played nearly even down the stretch. Each team scored 16 points in the third period, and the Jags outscored Tuloso-Midway 16-15 in the final stanza. As the final buzzer sounded, it was Floresville with the win, 74-59.
With the bi-district win in the books, the Jaguars advanced to the area championship, where they squared off with another team from Corpus Christi -- Flour Bluff.
The Jags knew this was going to be a tougher game than the last, but that’s what the playoffs are all about.
As play began, the two teams matched up with one another well, and the scoring remained tight. After the first eight minutes of play, a glance at the scoreboard revealed a 13-13 tie.
The teams moved into the second stanza and the intensity escalated. Flour Bluff kept pressure on Floresville, and the Jags made their best effort to keep the team from Corpus in check. Flour Bluff outscored Floresville 14-10 during the second period, though, and the Jaguars went into halftime down 27-23.
“[I] told them that we were just fine, we were only down 4 [points], and we hadn’t played anywhere close to our best basketball,” Twilligear later said. “I told them we needed to focus on our defense and get stops, then push the ball and score in transition. Most of all, the key was to calm down and play our game.”
When the Jags returned to the floor, it was clear the team took its coach’s words to heart, as Floresville came out fighting for the ball at both ends of the floor. The Jags managed another 10 points of their own, but closed the gap and overtook Flour Bluff with excellent defense, holding the team to just 4 third-period points. As the buzzer sounded the end of the third period, it was Floresville now in control, leading 33-31.
Things were tight throughout a tense fourth period of play, and Flour Bluff pulled within a point. Then, with just more than a minute to go, Flour Bluff hit a shot to take a 1-point lead. Eight seconds later, De Havalan Watts drilled a 3-pointer to put the Jags back on top by 2, and Floresville never looked back. The Jaguars held off a determined Flour Bluff team, and locked up the area championship with a 42-40 victory.
Watts led the team with 12, while Shelby Leinneweber was close behind with 11. Payton Cannon scored 10, and Liesel Raabe dropped in another 9 points.
The win advanced the Jaguars to the regional quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Floresville was scheduled to face former district opponent Beeville Jones, which was coming off a win over Corpus Christi Moody. The game was scheduled to be played Feb. 19 in Woodsboro.