SAN ANTONIO — With only a few seconds remaining in their UIL Class 3A state basketball semifinal on Thursday afternoon, exuberant cheers filled the Alamodome air as the Santa Rosa Warriors walked off the court for what would be the final game of the season.
Senior starters Leo Lara, Matthew Garcia and Monico Prado soaked in the applause from the large Santa Rosa crowd as the final seconds on the clock ticked away.
All year long the Warriors had won by 40- to 50-point margins, which led them to their appearance in the state’s final four. But for the first time in a long time the Warriors were now on the other end of the stick in an 82-44 loss to the Dallas Madison Trojans.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking because we really wanted to advance in this tournament and bring a state title back to Santa Rosa,” said an emotional Lara. “It was great playing for Coach Cipriano and alongside my best friends in Matthew and AB (Lozoya).”
Santa Rosa head coach Juan Cipriano was also disappointed with Thursday’s outcome, but still proud of what his team accomplished.
“This was something the guys had been working for since freshman year and reaching the tournament was a part of their goal,” said Cipriano “I wish we would’ve played better so the kids could have fulfilled their dream in winning a state title.”
In an unusual outing, the Warriors couldn’t convert on their shots as they had been all season.
The Trojans established themselves early on with a 22-6 lead at the end of the first to only distance themselves with a 45-19 score at the half.
“We didn’t show up in the first half. Our shots weren’t falling and that was the ultimate difference in the game,” Cipriano said.
To begin the third quarter, the Warriors regained their focus and embarked on a 13-1 run to cut the Trojan lead down to 46-32 as their defense held the Trojans to only 16 third-quarter points.
However, Madison muscled its way back in the contest and despite the low-scoring third period, opened up a 29-point lead by the end of the frame to essentially ice the game.
The Trojans will now face 2015 state champion Brock in the title game on Saturday morning.
Lara finished his last game as the Warriors’ leading scorer with 21 points, followed by AB Lozoya, who pumped in 12 of his own.
The Warriors’ loss by the numbers
SAN ANTONIO — In their state semifinal matchup against the Dallas Madison Trojans, the Santa Rosa Warriors were significantly outmatched.
Given the height advantage of the Trojans, the Warriors had to make the most of their opportunities outside the paint and, in the end, they simply couldn’t convert.
Santa Rosa only hit 16 of their 69 attempts within the paint and 3 of their 36 attempted three pointers.
Meanwhile, Madison forwards JeMichael Bowens and Quintarius Johnson terrorized the Warriors down low as Johnson grabbed 16 rebounds along with Bowen’s 14.
Together the duo’s 30 boards contributed to the team’s total of 66 rebounds compared to Santa Rosa’s 35. That led to the Trojans obtaining 18 second-chance points and 58 of their 82 total points coming in the paint.
Trojans guard Patrick Terry led the team in scoring with 20 points and snagged four steals that contributed to the team’s 11. Those 11 steals gave birth to 22 fast break points in which the speed of the Trojans proved way too much for the Warriors, who only scored eight fast break points.
The starting five of the Trojans were consistent in their scoring as they each averaged 12 points.