Originally published on Monday, November 12, 2012
• Victoria East vs. Floresville. Thursday, 7:30 p.m., District Events Center
• Victoria West vs. Corpus Christi John Paul II. Tuesday, 8 p.m.
The Victoria East Titans and Victoria West Warriors will both be looking to make a third consecutive playoff appearance this season, but with very different teams.
Both schools made it to the bi-district playoffs a season ago before West lost to San Antonio Edison and East to San Antonio Burbank.
The Warriors tip off the season at home on Tuesday against Corpus Christi John Paul II and the Titans open the season on Thursday against former District 30-4A foe Floresville.
East finished the season with a 20-14 record while West went 19-14 last season.
Here are five things to look for from East and West this season.
A year ago the lack of height forced East to use an uptempo style of play.
Things will be different this season as East has four players on the roster that are 6-foot-3 or taller, including returning post Xavier Ellis.
Last season the 6-foot-5 Ellis made the all-district first team. Once football season ends, the Titans will have more height as junior forward Deondric Lofton.
Lofton will switch from wide receiver for the football team to a forward on the basketball team.
East has to replace its two most experienced players last year in guards Da'Vin Hill and Ian Sharpless.
Last season Hill was named both the Advocate All-Area Boys Defensive Player of the Year and the district's defensive MVP.
Sharpless was a named to the district's first team.
Although East coach John Grammer said filling those holes will be a challenge, he has guards from a JV team that went 28-2 last season to step in.
'It's not like the cupboard is bare, but there is a difference," Grammer said. "They'll have to adjust to the increase in intensity and adjust the better players that are on the varsity."
Senior Christian Herring is the most experienced guard after playing his first varsity season for the Titans last year.
Finding a scorer
Senior guard Drew Erskine did the bulk of the scoring for the Warriors last season.
The 2012 Advocate all-area Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-district performer averaged 19 points per game.
The Warriors must find a way to replace the scoring left by Drew, who is now who is now playing a Centenary College, an NCAA Division III school in Shreveport, La.
"When you graduate somebody like Drew and some of the other seniors, you've got some spots to fill," said West coach Pat Erskine. "But we've got some young ones who are excited to fill those spots."
Senior guard James Murphy will lead the team this season and is one of three returning players.
Erskine in the middle
Like East, West will have more of a post presence this season led by Chris Erskine.
The son of Pat and younger brother of Drew will take his 6-foot-3 frame into the post after playing his first varsity season as a reserve junior post.
"We've got a long road ahead of us and we know it's going to be a roller coaster until district." Pat said.
All eyes on Calhoun
Last year 6-foot-4 center Isaac Cardona led the Sandcrabs to the district title.
Although Calhoun has a new coach, it returns last year's district MVP who averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
"I like our chances," Grammer said. "You've got to pick Calhoun as the favorite because they've got the most experience returning, but when all is said and done, I think we'll be in the thick of the race."
Calallen and Tuloso-Midway join the district thanks to UIL realignment.
T-M's leading scorer Jeremy Brittain returns this season after averaging 17 points per game and Calallen will also bring back leading scorer Christian Cantu who averaged 15 points per game.
"It ought to be a good district race this year," Pat said.