There wasn’t just one, big, glaring area of deficiency for the Coronado boys basketball team the first time it played Permian.
Instead, head coach Randy Dean said it was just a few little things, in just a handful of possessions, that allowed Permian to grab a 78-67 overtime win over the Mustangs the first time the teams met in District 2-5A play this season.
Now comes the rematch — with the Mustangs (22-5, 10-1) and Panthers (18-6, 9-1) comfortably occupying the top two spots in the league.
“Nothing will be wrapped up to this point, but it will give one team a certain edge with not a lot of games left,” Dean said of the winner of today’s 7:30 p.m. clash at Mustang Gym. “There’s still a lot of work to be done even after (tonight) regardless of how it comes out.”
An anticipated packed house will see the two most talented teams in the district on display.
The Mustangs are led by guard Christian O’Neal, who averages 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Guard Trey Culver and forward Devon Phillips and Devondric Meadows all averaged at least 8.7 points per game.
But Permian is also a talented group, led by forward Keouvion McCallop, who averages 16.2 points per game and dropped 23 on the Mustangs back in December. But Dean said it’s sophomore point guard Robert Thomas, who averages 14.8 points and 8.0 assists per game, that makes the Panthers go.
“They present a lot of challenges, but most of it starts through their point guard,” Dean said. “Not only does he get his own points but he gets the ball to his teammates very well. Doing a good job of playing him will be a big factor in the game.”
But the thing the Mustangs have going for them, Dean said, is consistency. Aside from the Caprock Holiday Classic, Coronado has not lost a game and has won six straight in conference play.
“I don’t know that we’re a lot different than we were back then, but hopefully we’ve sharpened some things in what we’re doing,” Dean said. “Hopefully we’re shooting the ball the best we have at this time of year and hopefully not many things will surprise us defensively. We’ve been a consistent team throughout the year and we just want to continued to do that and step up because it is a big game (tonight).”
Other big games
Coronado and Permian aren’t the only big matchup on the South Plains for Friday.
On the girls side, the rivalry between Frenship and Plainview kicks back up as the Tigers (14-9, 5-1) visit the Dog Pound trailing the 25th-Lady Bulldogs (21-8, 6-0) by one game in District 4-4A. Plainview beat Frenship at the Tiger Pit in a first-round, low-scoring affair, 26-24.
“We said from the beginning, (Plainview coach Danny) Wrenn and I both, that anybody is capable of beating anybody else in this district on any given night,” Frenship coach Terry Lowrey said. “Knowing that, we have confidence that we can go play well and compete well at Plainview, and hopefully we do just that.”
Also, Estacado and Shallowater renew pleasantries at the Mustang Gym after the Mustangs’ epic comeback from 16-down to win 47-46 in the first round of District 2-3A play. No. 10 Shallowater (23-3, 5-1) is tied with No. 6 Cooper for the league lead while No. 12 Estacado (19-8, 4-2) is a game back after Tuesday’s upset at the hands of Levelland.
In boys, The biggest game might be in Seminole where the Indians (17-7, 4-0) host Cooper (12-12, 4-0) in a battle of District 2-3A unbeatens. The winner gains the early upper hand in the district race.
In other games, Frenship (20-7, 4-0) tries to maintain its lead in 4-4A and finish the first half undefeated with a trip to Plainview (14-12, 3-1). District 2-2A leader and 22nd-ranked Abernathy (18-4, 7-0) hosts third-place Littlefield with the Wildcats looking for the upset clinging to third place in the district.
Brownfield (18-6, 4-0), in first place in 4-2A, travels to Denver City for a clash with the talented Mustangs (19-3, 2-2), and in 5-IA, Morton (14-11) host Farwell (20-3) with both teams 3-0 in district.
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