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Cougar Basketball Update

The Cougar basketball season will be on hiatus during the holiday break – indeed, UIL guidelines allow no activity by student athletes during Christmas, and Cougar Gym and the weight room will be closed from tomorrow until Dec. 28 – but both our varsity and junior-high teams have been playing hard and having success.

 

The junior-high team has its next game against Van Horn, in Van Horn, on Jan. 6, and the team's next home game is Jan. 24 against Fort Davis – be there!

Our varsity team will be back in action Jan. 11, against Marfa, in Marfa, and the Cougars will host Fort Davis here on Jan. 14, at 5 p.m. – don't miss it!

The varsity team has had some good games in the last two weeks – with sophomore Reyes Espinoza on the court, after he missed earlier games due to a football injury. The Cougars headed to El Paso Dec. 2 and 3 for the Immanuel Christian Tournament, and started strong – defeating Jesus Chapel 34-28. Reyes led the team in scoring – with 21 points – and snagged nine rebounds, and Eli Tate had eight points and nine rebounds. Joe Acosta added five points. Coach Joe Czubinski said that “everyone contributed from the defensive side,” and he praised his team's shooting, noting that Espinoza and Acosta were a combined six of 13 from three-point range. Coach Ski said Acosta had “probably his best game all around” as a high-school player.

The Cougars advanced to face a tough competitor in Tornillo the next day, and fell 14-65. Coach Ski described the Tornillo team as a “buzzsaw” – “after a good, tough-it-out victory against Jesus Chapel,” Coach said, “we ran into a 3A team that has year-round basketball, and it showed.”

A few days later, the Dell City varsity team played Jesus Chapel again – this time hosting at Cougar Gym – and again took the win, by a score of 45-27. Coach Ski described as a “really good team victory,” and said that, “once our shots started falling, the game was never doubt.” Espinoza had 20 points, and senior Esteban Morales had a strong outing – with 13 points and seven steals. All the rest of the Cougar players – Joe Acosta, Eli Tate, Luis Ayala and Iris Ayala – all put points on the board.

It was time for another tournament Dec. 9 and 10, this time in Van Horn. Once again the Cougars had a good debut – defeating Marathon 38-34. Tate was unable to play, and Coach Ski said the outing was an “awesome job for this five-man squad.” Indeed, Coach said it was the team's “best overall game of the year.” The Marathon team had three starting players taller than 6'4” – “but that didn't sway our players one bit,” Coach said. Each of the five players contributed points, rebounds, steals and assists to a “great upset victory.”

The Cougars faced Immanuel Christian the following day – in the third matchup between the two teams this season – and came up short, losing 24-36. One again, Espinoza led in scoring, with 11 points – notching his fourth consecutive game with double-digit scoring. With only five players, Coach Ski said, the Cougars played their best game against Immanuel Christian of the season.

The same day, the Cougars competed against the Fort Stockton JV team – and, while the Cougars lost 22-40, Coach said the game was “the high point of the tournament.” “We played a 4A high school very tough,” Coach said. “We had a lead after the first quarter, but the rotating of their players on a 14-man roster against our five-player team proved to be too much to go against.”

Coach said he was proud of the job his five players had done at the tournament.

“Hats off and all respect to Iris, Luis, Joe, Reyes and Stevie,” he said. “They played their hearts out all weekend, and even won a game – and they represented Dell City very well.”

Congratulations, Cougar student-athletes, and good luck in 2022!

While the gym will be closed through Dec. 27 – open gym activities will resume Dec. 28-30 from noon to 2 p.m., and basketball practice resumes Jan. 3, 2022.