While three area basketball teams take to the court tonight in third-round playoff games, the highlight of the sports week begins Wednesday when the annual Life Begins at 40 golf tournament gets underway at Harlingen Country Club.
Ron “The Killer” Kilby of McAllen is set to defend his fourth straight LBA 40 title and will try to win his 11th tournament championship overall. His very first tournament win was in 1997.
First-round matches tee off on Wednesday with the final set for Saturday.
Last year, Kilby birdied four consecutive holes to beat two-time LBA 40 winner L.D. Clopton 3 and 2.
Prior to last year, Curtis Person of Memphis, Tennessee, and Maurice Wilson of Dallas had won the most consecutive LBA 40 titles with three in a row. Kilby is now the undisputed king of the course.
“Not losing a match in four years is something that I’m pretty proud of,” said Kilby after last year’s victory.
Back on the basketball court, the Cardinals are set for their Class 6A regional quarterfinal playoff contest against Laredo Alexander. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. today at Corpus Christi Carroll High School. The Cards enter the game fresh off an impressive 59-55 area-round win over McAllen Memorial last Friday. In the victory, senior star Michael Arellano of the Cards left the game with an injury, but junior Diego Balzadua stepped up with an 18-point performance to lead Big Red. As for Alexander, they advanced to tonight’s contest after a gritty 80-77 come-from-behind overtime win over Los Fresnos. The Bulldogs were led by Marco Pena, who finished the game with 26 points, including seven in OT. This is the first time the Cardinals have been to the third round of the postseason since 2014. The winner today advances to the Region IV-6A tournament in San Antonio this weekend where they will face either Lake Travis or Cibolo Steele in the regional semifinals.
SANTA ROSA: The Warriors are no stranger to the third round of the playoffs. Two years ago, they advanced to the regional finals and last year they made it all the way to the state semifinals where they lost to the eventual state champions. Tonight they take on Corpus Christi London in a Class 3A regional quarterfinals set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. at Falfurrias High School. In the area round last Friday, the Warriors belted Goliad 90-61 to advance. Meanwhile, London took down Bloomington 69-42. Tonight’s victor will earn a spot in the Region IV-3A tournament in Seguin and a date with either Schulenburg or Marion.
SAN PERLITA: The Trojans are proof positive of the old adage that says good things come in small packages. Despite the school’s small population, the offensive-minded basketball team has impressed all season long and now finds itself in a Class 2A regional quarterfinals contest against San Antonio Stacey. The game is set to tipoff at 7 p.m. at Corpus Christi Miller High School. At stake is entrance into the Region IV-2A tournament at New Braunfels Canyon High School later this week and a game against either Yorktown or Mumford. The Trojans punched their ticket to the third round last Thursday with an impressive 76-65 win over Falls City. Victor Galvan and Tige Johnson paced the Trojans by scoring 22 and 16 points, respectively. As for Stacey, the Eagles advanced to tonight’s contest after a 65-47 win against District 32-2A foe La Villa.
MOST LBA 40 TITLES
-Ron Kilby, McAllen: 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017
-Curtis Person, Memphis: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1973
-Richard LaPierre, San Antonio: 2002, 2005, 2008
-Jack Little, Harlingen: 1987, 1993, 1998
-Jack Williams, Palmview: 1977, 1982, 1984
-Maurice Wilson, Dallas: 1969, 1970, 1971
-Phil Powell, Wichita Fallas: 1958, 1961, 1962
-Lonnie Wedland, McAllen/San Antonio: 1960, 1963, 1964
-David “Spec” Goldman, Dallas: 1954, 1956, 1959