Congratulations to Coach Johnny Cipriano and his Santa Rosa Warriors for a second straight ‘Final 4’ appearance in the 3A state tournament.
I don’t want to jinx him by pointing out to Valley sports fans what a magnificent achievement that already is for a Valley basketball team … but it is.
Only two Valley schools ever made it to the state basketball tournament twice in a row. One was Harlingen in 1950 & 1951, and the other was, you guessed it, Santa Rosa in 1961 & 1962.
Though Harlingen was
playing in its third tournament in 4 years in those halcyon days of Cardinals basketball, there was an asterisk to both theirs and Santa Rosa’s accomplishments. It was the ‘Final 8’ in those days, not the ‘Final 4’ as it is today.
So this season’s Warriors have done something no Valley team has ever done in nearly a century of UIL basketball — ie., two straight ‘Final 4’ appearances.
I know from experience the upstate teams will field taller teams, but players, listen to your great Coach Cipriano that height alone does not win championships. You can make it up with hustle, defense, ball movement, and great shooting.
And keep reminding yourself
that the Alamodome court is the same length and the basket is the same height as the ones you have seen all year.
I will join a few of my Cardinals teammates from Harlingen’s last ‘Final 4’ team in the stands at the Alamodome, and would be ecstatic to see you beat Mt. Vernon and play for a state championship Saturday afternoon.
The entire Valley is proud of you and is pulling for you.
John Bourg, Harlingen HHS ‘56