Vandegrift will no longer go unnoticed.
Not after three straight wins in what is arguably the toughest district in the state, District 25-6A.
The Vipers pulled off in the final five minutes on Tuesday night with a 54-45 win over Round Rock at Vandegrift High School, and combined with their previous win over a good Manor team and 3-1 in the county solidified themselves as a serious threat to make the playoffs. off for the first time in three years.
“Big win,” Vandegrift coach Jaime Sierra said. “We told all our guys that there are no easy games in this area, so every win is worth its weight in gold.”
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The Vipers (17-7) were in the lead for most of the game, but midway through the fourth quarter, their lead was reduced to 39-37 by Andre Griffin’s 3-pointer. However, they responded with a 15-4 run to end the game as Nico Otero scored all nine of his points during the stretch and they clinically maneuvered any pressure or trap the Dragons threw at them.
“Our ball-handling defenders Charlie Hatch, Mason Anderson and Mark Fletcher have really grown over the year and are tough,” Sierra said. “We had a lot of tight games against a lot of good teams. I don’t talk much behind the scenes because I believe these guys will make the right decisions – and they did.”
Perhaps not much was expected from the Vipers this season, as Sierra — a longtime San Antonio Reagan aide — is in his first year in charge, and the program hasn’t won much in the past two years.
But Vandegrift played well in November and December, beating several good teams, and the Vipers opened the district game with a respectable result, losing 57–49 to Stoney Point, the top 6A team in the American statesman.
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A key victory over the Mustangs when county play resumed last week garnered some attention, but Vandegrift is now part of the playoff lead, tied for second and in a good position – although it should be noted there are still 10 games to go. . go.
“It’s definitely a different feeling than the last couple of years where we’ve been losing,” said Anderson, who finished with 13 points and made some breakout offensive plays for the Vipers. “We’re looking forward to the playoffs and that’s a good thing.”
Hot shooting from Hatch spurred Vandegrift to a 21-10 lead as he hit five 3-pointers in the first 11 minutes of play. This was a crucial aspect of playing against Round of Rock, who is strong defensively and prefers games to be as low-scoring as possible.
“I didn’t think I’d miss,” Hatch said. “I shot every frame as if I was going to do it. Being so hot to start was great.”
Round Rock (15-8, 1-3) didn’t fall behind until the end of the half as the game picked up speed and then gradually began to reduce its deficit at the end of the third quarter. And then five in a row from Rohit Sanivarapu took the Dragons to three early in the fourth, but after Griffin’s three a couple of minutes later, the Vipers dominated to the end.
“At the moment we are doing everything right,” said Batch, who scored 17 points. “We have to keep the same practice and the same game plans and leave everything to the coach. It’s a fun team to play in.”
Carter Davis scored 15 points and Cooper Heaton scored 10 to overtake Round Rock less than three weeks before a one-point loss to state No. 1 San Marcos and Westlake. The Dragons are now two games under .500 in the district game.
It’s another sign of what all District 25-6A teams have in store for the next five weeks, and Sierra knows when she starts preparing for Friday’s game at Cedar Ridge.
“The wicked have no rest,” he said with a chuckle.