SEGUIN— With their slim 69-62 regional semifinal victory over the Poth Pirates on Friday, it seemed like the Santa Rosa Warriors were going to be in tight contests for the rest of the playoffs.
Well the wake up call on Friday served its purpose as the Warriors are headed to the UIL Class 3A state tournament after easily defeating the Shulenburg Shorthorns in the Region IV-3A tournament final 73-55 on Saturday afternoon at Seguin High School.
It’s been eight years since the last time the Warriors were part of the state’s final four and after Saturday’s victory, Santa Rosa head coach Juan Cipriano was ecstatic.
“When we went the first time in 2009, we had two transfer students from Mississippi and Houston that were a big part of that team,” Cipriano said. “It feels really good to be going back but with these guys, they’re Santa Rosa born and raised so that makes it more special.”
Senior Leo Lara lead the team in scoring with 27 points, and Monico Prado pitched in 18 along with AB Lozoya, who finished with 13 points of his own.
“It feels great to be going to the state tournament because it’s something we’ve wanted since freshman year,” Lozoya said. “Since we didn’t defend well against Poth, we were extra motivated against Schulenburg to get after it.”
Needless to say, the Warriors took care of business on the defensive end with an astounding 14 steals in the first half that gave Santa Rosa a 44-30 lead after two periods.
The Warrior rumble continued in the third quarter when the Shorthorns were just limited to 10 points and trailed Santa Rosa 60-40 before the fourth.
Playing from such a deficit, the Shorthorns used their best weapon in Myles Thomas but his efforts would come up short in the end. Thomas only mustered 10 points in the quarter and as the final buzzer rang, the large contingent of Santa Rosa fans in attendance wildly cheered for their conquering heroes.
The Warriors’ opponent in the state semifinals will be determined later today, but they will play Thursday at either 1:30 or 3 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The other three teams in the final four are Madison, Teague and three-time state champion Brock.